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Has the sheen worn off so soon?

The bad news: Nattering nabobs of negativity like myself will get to say "I told you so" for years.

The good news: We'll get bored of being right (yet again) and shut our gloating pie-holes long

before the 2010 Games are paid for.


VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Between now and the year 2010 the cost of construction in B.C. will

have doubled.

Phil Hochstein, President of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association says his

group has compiled research that shows construction costs have jumped 45 per cent since the year


He says the total jump of 55 per cent in 10 years will endanger projects such as the Gateway Project

if planners don't take rising prices into account.

These same burgeoning costs are plaguing the 2010 Olympics.

Colin Hansen, B.C.'s Minister of Economic Development says he believes rising costs won't break

the budget for the games.

Oh yeah... it gets worse. For comparison, Whistler Village sits at roughly 2200 ft of elevation, the

peak at approx. 7000 ft. Didn't check on Cypress, but chances are the new mountain bike park

there will be a year-round attraction in the not-too-distant future.

From Ski Magazine:

by Martin Forstenzer

You donâ??t have to convince people in Andermatt, Switzerland, that global warming is real. A


at the resortâ??s Gemsstock area has been melting for 15 years, retreating about 65 feet so far. A

massive snow ramp to one of its key lifts now thaws every summer and must be repaired before

each ski season.

Gemsstockâ??s shrinking glacier is hardly unique, as rising temperatures threaten to gradually

evaporate large chunks of the worldwide ski industry. The heat is on, especially in Europe, due to

the low elevation of many ski resorts there. (KitzbÃ1❄4hel, Austria, for instance, home to the


most famous downhill, sits at only 2,624 feet.) A 2003 United Nations study examining the future

of skiing forecasts trouble for the sport in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, among others. It

predicts that the snow line in the Austrian Alps will probably rise between 650 and 1,000 feet in as

few as 30 years.

The impact of decreasing snow levels could extend well beyond frustrated skiers and struggling

shops. Austria could lose 5 percent of its gross national product. The U.N. report cautions that

Switzerlandâ??s losses could hit $1.6 billion.

Some of the reportâ??s predictions are already being felt. Along with glacier meltdowns in Austria,

Switzerland and elsewhere, year-round glacier skiing at Italyâ??s Val Senales was shut down this


summer for the first time in 30 years because of low snowpack. Summer glacier ski areas in the

French Alps have closed as well.

Many ski resorts have already begun planning for an uncertain future, experimenting with a range

of attempted remedies. The European ski industry, in fact, may be working as aggressively as any

single industrial group to address the effects of global warming. Low-lying European ski resorts

have been hit hardest by recent warming trends so, not surprisingly, these same resorts have

worked hardest at finding solutions.

At Gemsstock, for instance, scientists have come up with a temporary fix that looks like a Christo

art installation: Theyâ??ve wrapped a portion of their retreating glacier with a 3,000-square-foot

fleece-like blanket to slow the melting. So far, the specially designed, $83,000 white covering has

succeeded in slowing the thaw, if not eliminating it. Across the Alpsâ??even in Austriaâ??s Tyrol


the birthplace of skiingâ??other sick glaciers are being swaddled in blankets to ward off the sun.


think it will become common practice,â?? Urs Elmiger of the Gemsstock cable-car company told

Reuters news last spring.


A more obvious—and controversial—response to shrinking snow has been to expand resorts into

the Alps’ higher reaches, or to build whole new resorts at higher elevations. In fact, most

developers are now unwilling to build major projects at Alps resorts unless they can site them on

high ground. In Davos, Switzerland, developers are planning a 26-story hotel complex several

hundred feet higher than the main village. To stave off potential economic loss, the Tyrol region

last year revoked a longstanding ban on building ski lifts at high elevations and on glaciers. Two

new high-altitude resorts are planned in the area—one at Kaunertal, above 11,500 feet on the

Gepatsch glacier. France is among other Alpine countries planning to develop new high-elevation

ski resorts.

Environmentalists aren’t pleased with high-elevation development or the further commercialization

of glacial areas. Michel Revaz of the Commission for the Protection of the Alps told a reporter last

year, “These glaciers are the last pure places in the Alps. They are bodies of pristine solid water

and should not be polluted with fuel, oil and debris.”

The North American ski industry has, so far, been spared. Ski villages here—at least out

West—tend to be higher (downtown Aspen’s elevation is 7,908 feet, for instance). Michael Berry,

President of the National Ski Areas Association, says his organization is keeping an eye on Europe’s

problems. “We’re aware of evidence in Europe that the lower elevation resorts are feeling the

impacts in a very specific way.”

One American resort operator in particular is taking the lead on confronting the issue. The Aspen

Skiing Company is moving toward evaluating all of its operations through the prism of global

warming. Auden Schendler, Aspen’s Director of Environmental Affairs, has led efforts to educate

people, and has also lobbied Congress and Colorado’s legislature to pass renewable energy laws

and other related legislation. “All our programs are organized under the umbrella of climate

change,” Schendler says, adding that the rest of the industry should be doing more. “We need a

greater sense of urgency on it. Once it’s here,” he says, “it’s too late.”

But you're talking about the FUTURE man!

By then we'll have perfected climate control and cloud seeding, not to mention the giant solar

parasols to keep Whistler and Vancouver cool during the games.

Dang, you're right. Plus, after WW3 and the ensuing nuclear winter, I'll be able to ski to work from Mt. Pleasant to False Creek. Woohoo, fresh tracks on my way to work!

Plus, you're saying "I told you so" but you haven't been proven right by any account.

You think 2010 is about building new buildings? Or maybe it's time for you nay-sayers to realize that it has something about Canada being part of a global community. We can make the world a better place, and there are lots of ways to do so, most of which have some discussion about whether or not it does make the world a better or worse place. Some people feel that riding their bike to work does so, some people disagree. Some people feel that the war in iraq will make the world a better place, some people disagree. Some people believe that becoming an isolated country, with no ties to the outside, would make the world a better place. Others disagree.

Some people complain that Canada doesn't support its' artists enough. I agree with that. Others realize it's not just our artists, but also our athletes. I agree with that as well. Hosting an Olympic games is not just about building some key facilities for the promotion of sports within Canada, but also about reaching out to the world and bearing a role of responsibility. We are a rich nation by almost any measure. If we can't afford to host the Olympics who can? The Olympics reach out to the world and is one of the few non-business ventures that brings our countries together. Maybe you disagree, but honestly, I don't care if you ride your bike to work either.

Having the olympics here is as much about sports as Enron is about providing utilities to the masses. And for the record, Stump was proven right by his oh-so-predictable call of massive over-spending and profitering which is now obvious.

Since it's "for the record" maybe you'd like to back your claims up with the famous final tally? Oh, that's right, you're talking out of your ass because the final tally isn't in. I don't for a second believe that we won't be over budget, but have a look at where the money is going before you call it bad money. How many people have died on the sea-to-sky highway this year? How many less people will be driving cars because of the RAV line? How much of that money is going straight back into our economy? Some people manage to argue for and against public transit all at the same time... it's truely amazing.

Maybe you haven't been watching TV the last week, but the Olympics have been hard to miss on TV. The Olympics are so obviously about sports that the rest of your comment just reinforces my already well supported assumption that most people go through life with enormous blinders that manage to block out the most obvious and basic facts.

Honestly, I wonder if some people would just assume that the sky isn't up if only their hated government would say so, whomever they be.

Final tally? Ah yes, let's wait until the very end to discuss the issues, I'm sure there's a refund policy on mega-projects somewhere. There never has been a mega-project which was over-budget this early which has managed to reign cost by the end. What we're seeing now was so predictable and will only get worse. As for the Good vs Bad money, it's such a laughably weak argument. Kind of like Good Tsunami vs Bad Tsunami, I would say. The point, in case you missed it, is not about the money being used at all but how badly chosen these projects are for the overall good of the province and city.

Some people see clearly, some people go through life with blinders on, and others are sea-monkey corporate tools. Where I see profiteering, you see profit!

Why is building a new subway and improving a deadly highway bad for the province and the city? Do you expect them not to be for profit projects? Of course it's going to cost more than they said, that's true for everything from a new highway to getting a new paint job. Was anyone under the illusion that it would cost exactly what they said?

Explain your good tsumani bad tsunami.

If it takes the Olympics to get projects like these going (rapid transit, highway improvement, new social housing, parks, etc...) then I say so be it. Of course the developers are going to put a bit in their pockets but that's business as ugly as it may be.

And what's your alternative? It's easy to rag on other things....

The "Deadly Highway". A "Killer Road" "The Sea To Die". How about "Idiot Freeway"? The Sea To Sky Highway is fine. No matter how much $$ is spent on improvements, the fact remains there is a city at one end and a ski resort at the other. Drivers will always rush to get there and back and that is the reason for the high death rate. The weather cannot be controlled, and the road itself is not the problem.

I have driven this highway regularly for 20 years and with all the "safety measures" people are still killing themselves. That will never change.

I'm not going to say much other than that I'll be surprised if the Sea to Sky improvements do much for the fatality rate along the highway and we didn't need the Olympics to build the RAV.

I'd prefer more bread and less circuses. Maybe we could be a world leader in something that actually matters?

How can you say road improvements don't lessen the likelyhood of crashes, fatal or not?

I agree, we didn't need the Olympics to build the skytrain. The city needs it regardless. But would it be under construction if we weren't getting the Olympics? Probably not, just like the first line and Expo '86, it often takes big events to put these things in motion.

And again, I'll ask you both: What's the alternative?

see Bagger's post shortly prior to mine re: road safety.

The alternatives are numerous. They all start with a change in mindset however.

So you're saying regardless of road quality/improvents/maintenance/over capacity, it's just people going to fast?

What are some alternatives? Please enlighten...

gee, thanx for the generous invitation, but no thanx. Can't be bothered to preach to the unconvertable ;-)

What makes you say I'm unconvertable? That's a large assumption based on very little. And unconvertable to what?

I'm not trying to be a smart ass or whatever, I'm honestly curious what the alternatives you speak of are. This whole thread is just whine whine bitch bitch with no real suggestions as to how to improve anything.

"This whole thread is just whine whine bitch bitch with no real suggestions as to how to improve


Well, this IS the politics forum. Your summation is the very nature of politics.

Now that is defeatism if I've ever heard it!!

Kerm - don't bother - on this topic the negative nelly's are gonna have a free ride from now until the olympics are done. They have a free pass on the 'I told you so' train and they are gonna shove it in your face every chance they get. Every bit of negative news will be trumpetted from the mountaintops and skewed to match their self-righteous agenda.

Advertising and Promotion revenues surpass budgets already - no mention here.

Budgetted venue construction cost increases due to excessive unplanned inflation require VANOC to inform the public of the need to draw on a portion of the contigency fund which is already part of the allocated budget for the venues (ie. they aren't asking for money beyond orignal budgets just approval to draw on very prudent contingencies).....but the nelly's cry that the sky must be falling, falling, falling and won't someone think of the children.

Road and transit improvements get a much needed kick in the ass - nope no benefit in that, in fact since more traffic will be on the roads more people will die.....

Tourism will increase due to numerous events leading up to the games (as part of the site prep and testing for international level competition)....nope no economic benefits here say the nellys, but the two toed spotted marmotee may change migratory patterns due ot increased airport traffic (it also may not but they won't tell you that).

Viable alternatives and solutions to problems (not made up problems) never presented or discussed - ask for links to study's supporting their arguments - get ignored - argue another case - get rebuffed as unconvertable. If you ain't wit em yer agin 'em and if yer agin 'em yer an idjit.

My suggestion would be to move Whistler to Vancouver. That way nobody would have to use the "Killer Highway". Don't laugh

Actually many road improvements accomplish the opposite of their intended result. Here's an example:

Wider suburban roads with more curves appear safer, as traffic has more room to manouvre. The reality is that the extra width encourages drivers to speed. The extra width also encourages unsafe lane changes. The gentle curves intended to slow traffic lead to drivers weaving into other lanes. The net result is that nice wide thouroughfare actually is considerably more dangerous than a narrow straight road. The extra speed discourages pedestrians & cyclists who feel (rightly) unsafe. I'm sure Stump can step in here and keep adding negatives......

My experience on Sea to Sky is that the absolute worst areas of that highway are where single lanes changes into a passing lane and then back. Drivers roar past about 30km/h over the limit and at the very last minute, slam on the brakes and swing back into the right lane....often narrowly missing incoming traffic.

The pathetic thing is once you hit the series of four lights in Squamish, or the narrow Lions Bay or Cheakamus Canyon stretches everyone is backed up to within 200 metres of each other anyways, so these morons have gained nothing except near death experiences.

I was the third vehicle on the scene of a head on collision that killed a family of four people in 2002. The reason for the accident was exactly what I described. I hope you never need to witness this type of carnage firsthand because you will never take a chance passing a vehicle again.

The improvements to hwy 99 are necessary to reduce crashes, both fatal and non-fatal, only if you make a couple of key assumptions:

-people will drive too fast for road conditions

-no other alternatives are worth considering

Crashes would be greatly reduced if people accepted the fact that it may take more than 1.5 hours to get to whistler and slowed down to a safe speed. (Sadly, with the seemingly abysmal driving ability demonstrated by many lower mainland drivers I'm not holding my breath for that one.)

As for reducing traffic on that road, a rail shuttle on the existing tracks would probably be quite successful, but apparently the industries that are serviced by it don't want to risk conflicts with their schedules.

Some of us reject the idea of unlimited growth. Therefore we're not really arguing by the same set of criteria, therefore arguing is pointless from both side's perspectives... as we can't even agree on the same set of assumptions.

So, by some people's standards the 2010 Games will be an unparalleled success. For others, it will be just another distraction and will have provided little of lasting benefit.

"Now that is defeatism if I've ever heard it!!"

I think you may mean cynicism. Or maybe you thought I was talking about government

rather than politics. There's nothing defeatist about summing up politics that

way. I don't think we're destined for failure in any way. It's just that one can very acurrately

describe the politics in our country (and others) as being filled with oppositions opposing for

the sake of

opposing. They rarely offer any constructive critisism (not that it would be taken by the

majority anyway), but sit back and highlight all the ways the current government is failing.

Whether you think this is good or bad, the way it should be or shouldn't be, it is politics.

I happen to think it sucks, and running a democracy (especially one with a minority

government) with the ammount of politics that we have now, doesn't get us all that far.

I suppose the reason such behaviour is prevalent in our government (along with a nigh-infinite

number of internet

discussion forums) is that it's much easier to highlight the problems, than offer great


Link below to a 1999 188pg study of safety planning on the sea to sky (10 second googling to find this btw)- I scanned the report and noted that they listed many collision factors and severity of collision from speed, to alcohol to failure to yeild right of way to falling asleep. Many solutions were presented - none of them was to leave things as they are. Not all of them called for widening the roads either.....report appears much more comprehensive then one anecdotal incident by Bagger. I think I'll listen to their recommendations before anyone on this forum.


I don't argue for or against unlimited growth. I concur (do you concur - I should have concurred) that any natural system cannot grow in an unlimited fashion in a finite space with finite resources. I may argue with your solutions but even there in the past I argue not with the actual desired result, but with the viability of the solution in the short and long term.

We (the citizens of Vancouver/BC/Canada/the World) need solutions that make sense - that are neither on pie in the sky nor the sky is falling viewpoints. For example in the past you argued we need to get people out of their cars and onto bikes (to boil your argument down past the point of oversimplifying)- I argue that that solution is to narrow in scope and lacks short or long term planning points. I suggest we need to enhance the transit experience, provide more transit capacity, incent people to work where they live and implement disincentives to long daily commutes. I think the perimeter tolling idea is a good first step in providing a disincentive. Parking taxes as much as they seem to be hated are another step in the right direction. Expanding rapid transit is definitely worth the money. BUT none of this will help without better city planning from the point of view of integrating industry and residential zones in a more comprehensive manner (ie bring the jobs closer to the people and the people closer to the jobs). Also, none of this matters if you can't afford to live where you work. Ie. not many people working in vancouver can afford to live in vancouver...how do we fix that.....Etc...not just a 'jump on the bike you lazy ass' solutions.

The 2010 games are like any mega-project if poorly run and monitored it WILL run off the rails. In this case though I _believe_ that the VANOC management is as astute as they come and will deliver the games and meet the vision and mission they purport all while providing most if not all of the economic benefits that are within their control. Come 2010 I think you just might be proud to say you are a Vancouverite and were part of this major event.

It's amazing how negative some people are. Nothing is ever right for the Nay-sayers, the Olympics aren't about sport, or the Skytrain is over-budget, or their taxes are too high, or whatever they want to complain about. It's truly incredible, and for each complaint, I get a little bit sadder about how wrong they are. There are so many good and wonderful things that are rightly proud of.

Yet the constant whining and complaining serves to alienate the vast majority of people. The whiners and complainers serve only to make matters worse by pushing the world in the opposite direction.

They say things like "I told you so" and "I am right" so frequently, that when they're so wrong, and the long game shows itself, that they are so deeply entrenched in their self-delusion that the only thing left to them is to complain so more.

So Mr. Evil Tempo... want to say again, or even for an initial time, how the RAV line isn't going to benefit Vancouver?

How does improving a highway that has a poor track record for safety and can not currently support the number of cars that use it supporting unlimited growth? You make huge assumptions from my little posts and that's just silly. It's not like I'm proposing building a 10 lane freeway downtown. Simply that the projects now in play are needed to support the traffic of today's (or 5 years ago's) population.

I'm well aware of the build more roads only brings more cars argument. But that doesn't negate the fact that the current situation isn't workable. Should we build transit that would accomadate everyone? Sure, that sounds great. But even when one new subway line goes in smack down the heart of Vancouver to the airport and Richmond everyone raises hell.

I don't get what your alternatives are. To say it's just politics is retarded. If that's your attitude why bother even posting or having any opinions whatsoever.

Also, to say we are starting from different assumptions therefore we are unable to communicate is equally ridiculous. Just cause I think one thing and you think another makes discussion between the two of us pointless? I don't get it. And stop saying 'we' and 'us' when you are giving your opinion. It sounds condescending; it's not like you're the moral authority police.

To Mr. Creosote. Thanks for the link......very interesting to note that the overwhelming majority of crashes are caused by speed, human error, weather, etc. Roadwork is all well and good, but when maybe 5% of the accidents are due to road design I think its riduculous to say that the $$millions being spent will actually have any impact on the death rate. I predict it actually rises since more cars will be on that road.

The real reason is to facilitate the $$ from the Games. I have no opinion as to whether the Games will be bad or good for Vancouver. Its just sad that our societies needs can oly be addressed to show off for the rest of the world. But come to think of it its really no different than your wife insisitng she clean up your place when company comes over. Human nature......as are bad driving habits.

BTW please reread my post. I never suggested that widening the road was on the list of road improvements that you somehow concluded I opposed....a completely different point was being made there witht that example.

a couple hastily dashed-off points -

a significant portion of the traffic on the sea-to-sky consists of commuters. My S.O. was once part of this group and they add to the volume and can get frustrated with the tourist traffic. They also use their knowledge of the road to drive aggressively and anticipate the double lane splits by keeping the foot to the floor.

as for the Olympics coming here, the benefit I most look forward to is the increased interest in amateur sport and sporting activity in general. This higher-level of participation has the spin-off benefit of reducing health care but I hope that we don't compromise too much fiscal responsibility in getting there.


Did you actually read the report? Even my scanning of it I saw the anticipated collision rate reductions from the various suggested improvements. The improvemetns are about saving lives and reducing damage - if more people are on the road then the improvements are going to save even more lives not cause the death rate to rise. (the absolute number of deaths may rise if the traffic levels increase faster than the reduction in the collision rates but the rate of deaths should fall based upon what the study put forward).

Note this report was dated 1999, I presume that had the Olympics not occured then these improvements would have been made anyway - it may have taken longer and been done more piecemeal, but it in no way should it be considered SOLELY an Olympic expense.

I made no real conclusions on what you opposed - I think your points on straight narrow roads vs. wide curvy roads may be based upon your opinion but not on facts/research and/or education or training. I then went and found a study that was done on the corridor that I had much more faith in with respect to what woudl truly improve the safety on the corridor - I didn't notice them narrowing and straigtening too much of the route, though so.....

Actually, Creosote touches on an important point here. The majority of expense "For the Olympics" were necessary in some time-frame regardless of the Olympics. A RAV line has been needed for ages, improvements to roads have been necessary, some more support for low-rent housing etc. I'd wager that the additional money coming in specifically due to the Olympics more than covers any additional projects needed soley because of the Olympics.

To make it more clear for those that might be confused....

$(Money we get for Olympics specifically) > $(Cost of Olympic specific expenses)

That's what my point was all along. These projects are needed now, not because of the Olympics in 4 years. But if it takes an event like the Olympics to get the politicians to spend money on projects needed 5-10 years ago, then so be it. Now if they'd only cough up cash for the teachers...

Mr. Creosote.....

Nice job - namecalling. It really adds to your argument.

I spent about 15 minutes scanning the report. Do I win? My point is that there may well be a reduction in the tiny minority of traffic deaths caused by road factors but this will be well offset by the increased number of idiots on the road who are attracted to the allegedly safer highway....I'm sure I can make up a mathematical model if that helps you.

Again, to clarify. No straightening and/or narrowing of the Sea To Sky was suggested, commented on, or in any way endorsed or opposed by myself, my legal representatives or colleagues. This story was simply an anecdote about the unintended outcome of road design.

Trust me I am not smart enough to dream up the "straight, narrow road theory" myself. This phenonena was one of many described in a book called "Suburban Nation - The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream". Look it up.....it essentially summarizes the effects of car culture on a massive scale in North American society. There are many suggestions on how to improve our currently unacceptable transit system - none of them call for inceasing road capacity.

Ta ta, Bagger

I'm heading up to Whistler tonight - pray for me......

Mr. Bagger, Sir,

If you can't take a little funnin at your 'nom de plume' then you might not be playing in the right sandbox.....

You don't need to make up a mathematical model you merely need to read my post as in

"the absolute number of deaths may rise if the traffic levels increase faster than the reduction in the collision rates but the rate of deaths should fall based upon what the study put forward"

The point being that the improvements will reduce the % of collisions and the severity factor (per the report). As such, if no more people hit the road than before then there will be fewer #s of deaths OR if the # of drivers increases the % involved in accident will drop but the # will be higher than the # before if the % rate of increase in drivers is higher than the % reduction in collisions. To suggest that the only reason more people will hit the road to whistler is because it is safer is an 'interesting' chicken/egg argument - the improvements are the type that increase volume (ie it's not two lanes all the way now and won't be after either) in and of themselves. But we will almost 100% certainly have increased volume in that corridor just due to population growth so reducing the _rate_ of deaths is a benefit worth pursuing.

I'll take you at face value that your anecdote was off topic and wasn't solution oriented...just a nice little story to tell the grandkids. But my point re: research vs. opinion still holds.

PS I called the Pope - you'll be fine.