Mayor Robertson, tear down those walls

Post by CityCaucus.com Staff in

92 comments

chain link fence
The Olympic cauldron and LiveCity sites behind barriers - is it necessary? Photo: Reuters

This is an open letter from the editors of CityCaucus.com to the leaders of Metro Vancouver Host & Venue Cities and VANOC. The efforts of the RCMP, Vancouver Police and security forces to create a safe Games are welcome, but in the case of certain important public spaces, the excessive safety measures are smothering the spirit of the 2010 experience for the public. Vancouver's LiveCity sites, Richmond's O Zone and the Olympic cauldron housed at Canada Place are all wrapped in layers of security that seem incongruous and unnecessary. Are there no alternatives?

With thousands of people trying to get a glimpse of the Olympic cauldron burning brightly on Vancouver's waterfront, news that Olympic organizers plan to keep the chain link fence in place during the Games is utterly disheartening. When we visited the site on Saturday, there were hundreds of disappointed people complaining that they couldn't get close to the flame, nor could they take a picture of it without the chain links in the image.

Then there is the City of Vancouver's decision to allow both of their LiveCity sites to be put behind a chain link fence and force visitors to go through magnetic screeners. You begin to wonder if this is all a bit too much.

In the case of the flame, there's no credible reason why Plexiglas cannot replace the chain link fence. VANOC has had 7 years to plan this event, you'd think someone would have thought about turning this into a Kodak (or Panasonic) moment for the thousands of visitors wanting to snap a keepsake photo of the Olympic flame.

What visitors see instead is the cauldron encamped in a medium-security prison.

As for the City's live sites, they were originally intended to be open public spaces where local citizens and tourists alike could wander in and enjoy watching musical acts and big screen broadcasts of sporting events. We never imagined that these public venues would be behind a large barrier and require spectators to get frisked and scanned with a security wand.

Let's get real here. Do people really need to be frisked and patted down in order to visit the Canada Pavilion or CentrePlace Manitoba which is located in the LiveCity Downtown compound? Compare that to the Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Atlantic Canada pavilions or a dozen other popular destinations which lack any such security measures.

The LiveCity Downtown site promised to be a great gathering space for the public to share in celebration. Instead, a large chunk of the property is left as unused space and off limits. On the other end, a large swath of the property has been set aside in order to accommodate all the lengthy lineups of people waiting to go through the security checks.

There is still time to rectify this situation. In the famous words of former President Ronald Reagan, perhaps we should be asking Mayor Gregor Robertson, or his Venue City counterparts to "tear down that wall"! Or at least conduct an immediate review of how to make these sites more accessible to the thousands of visitors with the short time we have left.

More likely, however, the City and VANOC will abide by the heavy-handed plan they've set out, and the barriers will remain. And that is a shame.

Now it's time for our readers to weigh in. What do you think about these security measures?

92 Comments

You guys are bang on. If they are so concerned about security, why don't they put screening devices in Robson square where thousands of people gather everyday.
I definitely won't be visiting the sites with the screening. Too much hassle.

Couldn't have said it better myself! What exactly are the organizers afraid of? Terrorist attacks? Bombs? If so, I would think the skytrain or seabus would be more likely targets and there are no chain link fences there. The fencing around the cauldron is causing huge congestion and lines and the police were simply not able to cope with the number of pedestrians spilling over on to the steets today as they tried to catch a glimpse of the flame. The long lines at the live sites are a direct consequence of the fence and security measures. Get rid of them!

Well said, agree 100%. The chain link fence at the cauldron ruins all of the photos, it's embarrassing for Canada. And these line ups for security screening are ridiculous. Let's be Canadian and relax and have some fun instead of being uptight and paranoid! Go Canada!

Agree! They could have at least cut a few holes in the chain link you could take a photo through!! Geeze. The live sites don't feel right all fenced off from the world. If terrorists want to cause trouble they can just go to the airport or Robson Street... what is the difference really? And at Yaletown there is no booze or anything to worry about at all.... Doesn't really make sense.

It's easy. Slap my old friend Garth Mullins in jail on trumped up charges for two weeks, and then you can take down the fence.

It's win-win. That way he gets the publicity he wants, and you get the access you want.

Whatever happened to the Canadian spirit of compromise? :-)

Oh my god. Finally someone is speaking on behalf of the people. Please take down those bloody fences and unplug all those security scanners. This is CANADA, not some communist country. The mayor needs to step in here. By the way, where has he been lately? He has gone underground. Probably too busy wining and dining all the IOC officials to worry about what the little people have to contend with. I somehow doubt the mayor has to go through these scanners or take his pictures behind chain linked fences. This is BAD!

I hardly think it is the terrorists that the security is worried about. If it weren't for the mindless vandalism that the "anti" crowd has already shown us they are capable of, yes I'm sure we would all be able to seamlessly enjoy the Kodak moments and games venues. As far as the plexiglass goes, it would surely become another "canvas". I will still be coming over from Victoria to experience what we can and take it in. Go Canada.

Couldn't agree more. The cauldron as it stands is a disgrace

Where the H$$L is Gregor Robertson? Why hasn't he spoke up about these stupid fences and security clearacne checks for so-called public spaces? It's his leftwing nutbar supporters that were smashing windows at the Bay a few days ago, that's perhaps why he has been so silent. The security is put in place there to apparently protect us from those hooligans. But why isn't it in place at any ohter venues?

He should show some leadership and speak up about this. Surely he has some power in this city to take down those fences and make the live city venues truly open to the public. COME on! Speak up now on behalf of the people who voted for you. This isn't just about the tourists who are going to go home in a couple of weeks, this is about your own voters.

Is unvelibable,me are coming from a far away country basically a third country where we live under fences and we come here to Canada to go thrue the same? come on, wake up, Olimpic flame is that NO ONE will do anything with that more than take memorables pictures, sorry if u guys find my englis pretty bad but is my concer, let us take better pics that will be forever in our hearts and the rest of the time in our lives!

I hate to say it, but the photo you have above could well become the iconic image we all remember from these Olympics. An event where we stood in line for hours, only to find out we were locked out of our own city. Shame on whoever came up with this concept. There is still lots of time to fix this, let's hope the mayor does something. If it happens, I'll go to these places with my family. And i'll thank him for the opportunity.

I have to agree.We don't need a "wall",this isn't a communist country!!!If you want it to be safe,then maybe a MUCH smaller fence closer around it with security..but this is WAY over the line!What is this telling other nations??Is this really the kind of picture you want to paint for them?

No aesthetics. No clue. Beautiful city ugly delivery.

I agree with everyone that the security stinks, but if anything bad did happen (like the bomb in Atlanta) then people would be calling for someone's head!

Fantastic letter, thanks to the person who wrote it.
The chain link fence is a disgrace. We are the laughing stock of the world. It's even made it into the New York Times.
Ditto for the Live Sites.
Perhaps the wonderful caucus guys would like to start an online petition that we all could sign.

Why don't they put some Mounties at the Olympic cauldron it would make for a good photo opp and they could serve as security. Also they could have or still can build some security features into the base of the cauldron that could look really good and prevent people from climbing or getting close to it to vandalize it like a water fountain with a shallow pool of water or a metal rod iron fence with artistic touch. I don't know! but it doesn't sound like they put enough thought into this.

I was there this morning (6:30 AM) to take a picture. Totally shocked to see it was locked up with ugly fence. A few photographers tried to get some shots between the wires ... the icon of Olympic is not reachable ... even with camera.

I understand about the security part. If there is a concern about threats of someone's life, I agree. However, for the Olympic cauldron, please don't do it.

The endless chainlink fencing everywhere is just ridiculous, and the overzealous security measures have turned beautiful Vancouver into a maximum security prison covered in pastel-coloured Olympic banners. As a result I haven't bothered going to any of the LiveCity sites or any of the pavillions because after walking through mazes of fencing you're confronted with security goons and bouncers who want to search you. It's a very unfriendly image and cuts off access to important Olympic public spaces.

Once again Vancouver just can't help itself from being a no-fun city even with the world's biggest party going on in its backyard.

I agree with everyone here, putting up the fence is a bit too much and so far away too, why not put up some metal fence at least where we can get better view and better pics of the torch.
I was hoping that they would let us have a better picture of the torch, but this is a fail.

Totally agree with the pans on the Flame - we ventured out on Sunday, and were embarassed to see the Flame locked away like a prisoner - I refuse to take a picture that memorializes the Olympics in such a manner.

I also couldn't believe all the barriers to pedestrians - you have to walk four blocks to cross the street near Canada Place.

We have fond memories of Expo 86 which excelled in everything that was done, the Olympic venture pales in comparison.

We finally gave up trying to enter the venues after viewing a rather pathetic provincial venue (won't name it) and looking at interminable lines everywhere else. Our day was made memorable by the beautiful sunshine, beautiful city and the many, many happy citizens and tourists. If the venues are poor, the vibe is great downtown.

Kudos also to the police who were friendly, helpful and smiling.

I think the entire security issue has been blown out of proportion. It makes Vancouver look like a war zone. I don't see how this will help bring tourist to the city. All we see on TV is fences and armed forces, like the news from Afghanistan.

I for one enjoy living in a sparkly casino gulag. 3 cheers for Gregor.

OMG, Completely agree. I went there on Friday night, and thought the fence would be there just that night for some sort of "special security issue"...but no, it's still there, and it's so dissapointing. I just don't get it. There is no reason for that. If they want to have a fence, why not a 1 meter high fence, just to protect people/kids from getting hurt? IT'S EMBARASSING! I have never seen such an organized crowd in my life...there is no need to ruin the fun for locals and tourists..but I find that happening over and over...and the Cauldron with the big fence in front of it, is just ridiculous!
Hopefully our message will get out and we will have access to good pictures before the Olympics are over!

This is a travesty. I'm really enjoying the Olympics, but can't believe what is happening to my city. Why is the flame behind a fence to keep it away from the "little" people. I notice that all the IOC family and media can go right up to it. The "little" people that actually paid for the flame are kept away from it like caged animals. Why is the mayor and other elected officials silent on this one? As for livecity sites, they are quickly becoming a joke. Who is going to wait in massive lineups in order to be frisked and put through airport security in order to see the Canada pavilion. Come on, what a joke. Open up these damn venues to the public and let us enjoy the rest of the games. These are not the kind of impressions we want people to have of Vancouver and Canada. There is still time to rectify this and Robertson should step away from the Olympic cocktail parties and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW!

The chain link fence is ridiculous. It takes away from the spirit of the Olympics. The security is over kill, the organizers seem plagued with fear.

Well i do agree with the fact that the fences take away from the Olympic spirit for all us normal folk, but i think for once Vancouver's stupid ideas worked for once, imagine if we didnt have the fence near the flames and that mob that destroyed the bay and other things the other day and went and destroyed the flame....That would have made us look even stupider!!!! Of course we are not all like this but there are always a group of people out there to ruin it and thats what Vancouver is perparing for.

@Rick. I would agree with you if they had also put fencing around the Olympic countdown clock. Which they didn't. This just seems all so hoaky. It looks a tad amateur hour. Kind of like putting Wayne Gretzky in the back of a pickup truck to light it. All seems like an afterthought. I'm all for security, but if the olympic clock can remain open to tourists, why can't the flame? Seems like a double standard. I think they just wanted to give media and mucky mucks free access to it, while us pleebs stand behind the gates. What a shame. The silence from public officials is deafening.

My sentiments exactly. These are clear cases of security overkill that actually do little to protect people or property. All it's doing is making visitors and locals very angry.

I agree with everyone about the ugliness of the chain link fence and the no-thought that went into that decision. I'm afraid this kind of decision-making comes when you don't include people who actually have some skill/talent in making a "ugly" look turn into something beautiful... but that would require someone like a set designer, or set decorator... someone in the Arts whose skills all evolve around presentation. But this province does not only not support their Arts from a funding sense, the suits don't even realize they have the talent in this province who COULD have turned their "must have security measures" into something pleasant for the masses.

And why do we need such strict security measures around an open flame?? Because of the yahoos that incited a "mob mentality" downtown on Saturday. Unbelievable that a small group of 20-30 uneducated punks could ruin an experience for thousands of well-behaved locals and tourists. But it's because of these yahoos the rest of everyone has to suffer. Pretty darn pathetic.

Took this picture of my son on Saturday morning. Kind of sums up that particular experience.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15667630@N06/4354025741/

This is an amazing photo Jeff. It kind of captures exactly how a lot of people are feeling this morning. Everyone is talking about this around the water cooler and a photo of this young boy behind barbed wire just sums everything up.

Horrible!!!!!! How come people can go inside and we have to be "out " of the fence????? I had no idea we lived in a City that is so classist. This is NOT pretty!!!!!!

Great picture. I have a similar one of my daughter - we took it as a keepsake for her when she gets older. We figured we could relate to her how she was a part of history, living in a city that hosted the Olympics. When the fencing comes down, we can celebrate along the lines of the Berlin Wall...

I had hoped Vancouver was better than this. Enough with the security already. We have thousands of people come into the city for the Festival of Lights each year - we don't have fencing and frisking for that...so why for this?

Unfortunate situation for anyone wanting to take a decent picture. Especially difficult for small kids to get a good view of the cauldron. Would be nice to be able to take a picture with family and/or friends in the foreground without having a hideous looking fence between the two. Very embarrassing for the City of Vancouver.

It is OK for the sake of public safety and security. Coming from a third-world country we are used to being treated as "low-life", far away from all the VIP treatment. Go Canada!

What a shame! The jewel of Vancouver - the waterfront at Canada Place - and the jewel of the Olympics - the cauldron - are both inaccessible, behind, of all things, chainlink fences!! Horrible!
We were there yesterday, and if anyone wanted to create trouble, all they had to do was create a panic in the crowds (herded like cattle) behind the fence and there would be a stampede! What the f%*& are they protecting??!!?

These whole games are ridiculous! I love sports (events) but the only think the O.C. is wrecking the spirit of all that.

I heard VANOC spent $900 million on security, please don't tell me that they could find the money to place a decent see through fence.

Anyway, not sure if it helps but join my friends FB group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=324589973199&ref=mf

Any way these messages could get to CTV or Global???
This situation is just unacceptable!

I was SO disappointed! I spend 20 minutes shuffling through foot traffic only to find out I could not even get close enough to see over the fence. I was so disappointed that I never even took a picture.

haha missing some words there, had to rephrase my sentence, toned it down a bit but I guess you get my drift ;-)

After spending $900 million for security, maybe the city could use some of the PEOPLE that are being paid out of this enormous fund to 1) protect the flame once the fence is removed and 2)roam/watch the crowds in the pavilions and LiveCity sites to make certain nothing bad happens. I expected to go through security to get into the Opening Ceremonies but not into the Canada Pavilion.
It's not too late for a revision of these decisions. Let's make ALL of this a friendlier place so everyone can easily have a good time!

Why spend so much money with security of there is a big fence there to stop people?

What's their job at that site? making sure the fence is intact? what a waste of money and training.

I'm just soooooo upset!!!!!!!!!

Down with the fence!..or if the fence must stay...Raise The Flame!...at least viewing and pictures without the chains would be possible...a raised(and RCMP controlled) walkway around the site of the torch...would serve all purposes; security, viewing; and respect for what the flame stands for..what a missed opportunity...and in the eyes of the world.

Yeah it needs to be up. People are stupid and there are already "protestors" that have been smashing windows and harassing public. Last time i checked protestors used picket signs and didnt hide their faces. And you can't have staff or security up all day and night to protect the torch. A fence does the job for free and makes sure some idiots arent going to blow it up at 4 am in the morning. Soo boo whoo its a bit of an eye sore but would you want to be up 24 hours watching it?

All of the live sites are a complete disappointment, as it is impossible to get in. You can't even see through the LiveCity Yaletown barrier!

Seems like a waste to me. I thought it would be like the jazz festival where people could gather and see the stage.

I know I won't be waiting in any of these two-hour lines.

This is not a surprise. I remember during the planning of Vancouver, the Italians saying it was a concrete lesson of their games not to bother with the metal detectors Vancouver, they are a waste of time...so we went right on ahead and put them in.

On Saturday, the Olympic protesters broke the window glass pane of The Bay store. If there are concerns that the flame would be tampered with, then plan for it appropriately - not with a construction wire - when the whole world is watching.

I disagree with enclosing the Live City venues to one or two entrance points and conducting metal detector and security checks, resulting in long lineups. Why can't it be an open space for public to hang out? Or why cant they have 10 entry points so that people can freely enter to see what's inside rather than committing to a 2-hr lineup just to find out that there is nothing inside - it's a space to hang out.

As for the cauldron behind the fence, I work nearby downtown, and use the area for my lunchtimes, and though an olympics supporter, I've been incredibly irritated that they have had this plaza and the adjoining waterfront completely fenced off since OCTOBER. And you needed 3 MONTHS to do what exactly to this open area? The pictures reveal it now, basically nothing, bar the cauldron.
It's hard not to get the feeling there are some people who feel they are above it all. Let's have some reasonability please, and less of the high-handed attitude.

A lot of things are being watched 24-hrs a day. One more thing wouldn't break the budget. The flame is worth that type of security, as it is the center of attraction and a closest connection for the public and citizens of Vancouver who are supporting the Olympics.

Your headline should read "john furlong tear down the fence" Your guys know the city of vancouver or gregor robertson doesn't make those security decisions, stop killing your credibility with such transparent misrepresentations.

I feel like Canada wants to play USA.

People who think that those 20-30 protestors who broke the windows are reason enough for all of this, should travel more!
There are no guns envolved, no extreme violence..and the police are there with all the training and expertise to control these situations IF they happen...which is extremely rare in Vancouver with "rocks", and "none at all" with guns or something like that!

Don't get me wrong..I love the fact that we are so safe here...but we don't need extreme measures for that...we are simply educated enough to enjoy the Olympics, the games & venues without disrupting the system, and so are the tourists, as I can see.

Answering another posting...YES, the flame should be monitored 24hrs/day, why not? when they have spent so much money for security, it's expected.

But let people have at least VISUAL ACCESS to it! Nobody is asking to "touch" it as far as I know.!

I couldn't agree more. Target hardening has taken all of the fun out of the public experience of these Games. Unless you stand for two hours in a line-up before being admitted to what looks like a military compound, you wouldn't know that the David Lam Park is a waterfront jewel that symbolizes Vancouver's highly accessible and beautiful public realm.

I am already tired of simply wandering with the thousands in the downtown who over the last few days have realized there is so little to enjoy about these Olympics without a costly ticket, a special invitation or without queuing for hours at a handful of special attractions.

Where are the street entertainers, food vendors and big screens you can watch without being frisked first?

Where are the street enterta

CityCaucus PLEASE HELP US GET THAT UGLY FENCE DOWN....it is an embarresment.

Dave, I think they may have been referring to the fact Robertson has erected walls all around the live city sites and has installed security around the perimeter. Sure he doesn't have direct control over vanoc's fence, but surely he can speak out about it. Isn't this guy supposed to be the mayor? Show some leadership and stop hiding behind John Furlong's skirt.

"Saw" the flame yesterday and was extremely surprised and disappointed.
There were so many sad faces there I just felt embarrassed for my Country. Really? 7 years of planning and this was your best idea?

Shame

So appropriate for the way Vanoc has handled the Games. No transparency, no information, just facist tactics.

Keep it fenced off like everything else Vanoc does.

It is an interesting thing about Vancouver. 10 years living in Vancouver, I have never seen any bigger live concert. Vancouver is probably too conservative in this matter. I was in Toronto for the last two years. Lots of open concerts almost every weekend. People come and enjoy. I visit Asia occasionally. Open live concert everywhere. But hey celebration of light is a big event too. Probably even more people gather at English bay to celebrate and enjoy fireworks concert openly. Why not do the same for Olympic venues. As a Vancouverite, I am truly disappointed.

More people will just be realizing the hassle to get into these Venues and those gated venues will become a waste of money because of lack of people. The opening ceremony was the first encounter of liveCity for me. After spending 2 hours waiting in the line wondering whether I will get in, once I went through the gate, hey it's not even packed at all. What a shame and waste of people's time. and after all it's just a bigger screen (not to mention, with commercials) and nothing else. Not even MCs... Lame.

I would definitely go for somewhere more open like Robson Square to support Olympic Games.

And the fences around the cauldron. Ouch! I am hurt.

I've been waiting to hear from the mayor on this issue. Has anyone else heard if he's spoken out on this? Why is he putting his head in the sand? This will hurt him after this big event is all over. We will remember his ineptitude.

very disappointed!They could at least have had a lookout over the fence for pictures.

Fences; walls, street video cams, security, police,choppers over our heads,random pedestrians check, crowd control strategies... where is the fun,the spirit and the freedom of the Olympics? Big brother is watching!

Really Vancouver? Really? A CHAIN LINK FENCE? Really? Vancouver you should know better. It's an insult to the World.

To blame this on Mayor Robertson or the city is ridiculous. The city has been fighting with VANOC and the insecurity industry for the last several years. If anything, it is Campbell or Harper that have real responsible for the over security and they have the power to do something about it. In addition to being just plain annoying, the over security has cost almost a billion dollars.

A chain-link fence?!?! Please, VANOC, LIGHTEN UP!!

sincerely,
-a Vancouver citizen who wants a picture with the cauldron

I too had assumed that the live events would be accessible to all and not hidden behind several layers of security. The best experience seems to be had in the places that aren't official Olympic venuues which seems crazy.

The fences around the cauldron and both LiveCitys (sp?) seem rather pointless and do nothing other than make people angry. Take them down and let Vancouver become the 'fun city' you want it to be.

I don't suppose anyone has thought about what it will look like after the olympics.

It's going to be permanently lit (how green is that?) and it's design makes it easily climbable.

Both those things ensure that it will always be behind a fence - if only to stop some dunce from climbing it, lighting themselves on fire and falling off.

Even if it wasn't a symbol of the olympics, it'd be fenced off.

One only has to think back a few years when the leaders of eastern European countries placed a grip on their people that was so firm, the outside world could only stand back and watch, and question the insanity.

It is unthinkable that we have an unelected body that has been allowed to degrade, own and even control our civil liberties and freedoms. Is this really the "Best Place" on earth? Is this really a free country we live in? Is this in the name of our security? Are we really that scared of each other?

It is a truely sad day when we see our Country bend to the propogandas of Corporate Enterprise and allow them to strip the very freedoms that our parents and grandparents fought to gain. To view a symbol so strong that emboides the soul and sprit of mankind through a fence exemplifies the control we have allowed VANOC to sieze. The Country, Province and City should all take shame in this. And yes, we the people should also take shame.

It is ironic that the great treasures of the world - Mona Lisa, Eiffel Tower, Sistine Chappel, Statue of Liberty and Great Wall of China - are all open to the public to feel, see and experience up close. Can these great treasures really compare? VANOC, your arrogance and disrespect for the intelligence and maturity of the world is insluting - you have failed.

VANOC will forever go down in Canadian history as the very entity that took the soul and spirit from the people of Canada. Bravo VANOC, bravo!

If VANOC weren't so secret about everything, this whole cauldron issue wouldn't have been an issue. In Torino the location of the cauldron wasn't hidden from the public. In Syndney it wasn't hidden. Even in communist China at the Beijing games it wasn't hidden from the public.

Somehow VANOC thought they needed to keep the location of the cauldron a SECRET from the public. As a result, they never constructed it in a beautiful wooden tower outside BC place. Had they done that, everyone in the city could have enjoyed the flame.

Instead, like everything else they've done, they built the cauldron under the cover of darkness right in the middle of the highest security zone - in SECRET.

If Vanoc is getting blasted from the public for their stupid decision to put a cauldron in the demilitarized zone behind a chain link fence...then so be it.

This is classic vancoc and don't expect them to back down now. The cauldron is in a warm and cumfy spot that all the IOC officials and media can view it close up, while the rest of us can admire it behind the gates. SHAME on vanoc. SHAME. Tear down that wall!!!!

Gregor Robertson please speak up! If the mayor popped out of his bubble and actually spoke out on behalf of the people that voted for him, surely Furlong and company would react? Am I naive in believing so?

I think its crazy. really?? I went to go see the cauldron, really getting into being excited about the games being here and was embarrassed/angry/surprised to see the ungly chain-link fences around such a beautiful piece of work!!! The Flame itself is beautiful, and to keep out the hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals that have come to take a look at something that is so important to the games - a real site to see! With the mountains behind and the ocean, and the great work that had been designed, to put the chain fence in the way so people can't enjoy all that....its utterly insane!

Way to go Vancouver - really....come on - get real. Over and over again I hear the "no fun city" and how "don't say your having fun, because vancouver will make a law against it!" well, thats what has happened here. Its gone from keeping us safe, to taking all the joy out of something that was so exciting to think I was able to see.

Take the fence down!!! Its a disgrace!

GET RID OF THE WALL.

Go Team Canada!

LiveCity Yaletown Security Fencing disappoints thousands as venue reaches capacity 1 hour before Jets Overhead concert starts.

Myself and thousands of others just experienced the biggest let down of the day....getting stuck behind the Livecity security fence after lining up around 8:30pm (1 hour before the Jets Overhead took the stage). At 8:30pm the lineup stood around the entire venue and curled back towards where it came before hitting the waterfront. Since the perimiter fence is covered in Olympic Banners, we were unable to see the massive TV screens of the concert - designed for alternative viewing. The only exception being a few gaps in the banners where you could make out a very large (unused) space where urinals and more fencing scarcely fill an otherwise excellent usable concert space. Also, because the fence is along the perimeter of the park, it was impossible to even enjoy the music....forcing thousands of people who could have enjoyed the concert to go home disappointed. Why do you have to put your olympic banners around the LiveCity events? We see enough of them around the city already...Congratulations Olympic organizers for yet another Olympic letdown.

I plan to go early to the OLP concert on Thursday because that will definitely be an Olympic letdown for many thousands more.....

The chain link fence is for storage or junkyards and not for the cauldron.The fence has to come down, it is a shame to spoil the city's beauty.

I'm really not impressed by the pretentious air that Vanoc has created in this city. You either need to take out a loan to take part in anything that doesn't involve a line (and even that isn't the case for most gaming venues) or you take your chances in the clement weather to access one of their free venues. It's just too ridiculous. For all their talk about making the downtown experience one that residents and visitors could enjoy, by the very fact that they've been so closed off, no one but those who've PAID to come here would tolerate such tactics.

LiveCity Vancouver's Facebook page has been mentioning that if you show up without a bag to check, you'd be able to get into their venue quicker via an express lane of sorts. Today, I was at their Downtown location and asked where their express lane was and a volunteer in a blue jacket said there was no express lane, just one line. The line was huge and went around the block so I gave up. When I got home I posted the following message on their wall. As you'll read, they never answered my question:

**************
Jenn: Hi, I was going to go to the LiveCity Downtown location until I saw the insane line up and there's no more express lineup for those with no bags - is that the case from now on? (6 hours ago)

LiveCity Vancouver: Hi Jenn, there is an express lane for people without bags to check- just ask someone in a light blue jacket and they can help you find it. The line-up may look long, but they actually move very quickly- 20 minute wait time on average. (6 hours ago)

Jenn: I specifically asked a blue-jacket person and they said they nixed the express line up and that there's only one line to get in, regardless if someone has a bag or not... (6 hours ago)

>

Jenn: I'm still confused and I'd like to know why there was only 1 line when there are supposedly 2?
4 hours ago

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I'm not sure if anyone else has encountered this at the LiveCity Downtown site but I'm done with the crowds and the lack of public access to the venues that I unwittingly paid for. I can't wait until the world goes home and we can have our city back.

I totally agree about getting rid of the security measures, they are a joke and don't really do anything. If someone wanted to go after a big target there are a lot more people (having a lot more fun than in a Livecity site), on Robson street.

Yes perhaps naive that Gregor will do much (as usual) that's why he prefers his bubble afterall.

To CityCaucus, thank you for your delightful and positive reporting on so many sites & freebies etc to take in - what a great job!

Wish I could say the same for Vanoc. 7 years to prepare and they continue to be "surprised" and with so many deficiencies, ie fence @ cauldron, lack of buses, Cypress food/shelter problems + too warm weather (duh, we all knew that was forecast) Ever heard of "contingency plans??

I agree !! I was at the Victory Celebration Sunday night. I was with my husband and 2 children and we were ALL asked to remove our jackets and walk thru an airport style metal detector.Our hand- held personal items( empty water bottle, gloves, etc.) had to go thru a screener in a bin. The security officer rummaging in my purse spotted my "highly suspicious" 120 ml tube of hand lotion and told me he needed to "confiscate it" as it was a "security risk". All I could do was laugh. Has it really come to this?? Shame on Vanoc!

It looks like Furlong is about to cave on the fence. Will Robertson now take down the walls at livecity?? Surely if olympic officials can understand putting a barbed wire fence around the flame is ludicrous, Robertson could understand patting down small children and seniors to go see the manitoba pavilion and happiness house is blatantly stupid? I love the olympics but this is really silly and making vancouver look bad. I agree with the headline. Robertson, take down those walls.

What about those fences around the live cites? What security are they really providing? Several pavilions outside of these sites, are outside of fenced areas and don’t seem to need them. There is no security around Granville Island, Saxony House, etc, so why does VacOC think they need a big fence around Yaletown or Downtown LiveCity?

At Yaletown, there isn’t even a beer tent. Why on earth is a big fence needed around a coke marketing tent? I think maybe they feel it is needed for crowd control. But I tell you, the crowds would be more normalized without the fence. We would have gone out for a bite to eat or drink the other night, but you feel sort of “stuck” there because you won’t want to line up again if you want to come back for a live performance.

If it was opened up, then people would come when it’s not too busy, and would move on if it gets crowded. A free market with free movement.

I’d be all for it if it really provided security, but I think all it provides is needless irritation... I say, put it on the list and demand “tear down the fences”!

For those that still believe the fencing around the live sites is for our security, here are a few stats:

Capacity of LiveCity Downtown: 3000
Capacity of LiveCity Yaletown: 10,000

Canada Day 2009 saw 145,000 descend on Canada Place. No fence, no metal detectors, no frisking required.

Festival of Lights 2009 brought 1.4 million to the beaches and streets of Vancouver over the 4 nights. No fence, no metal detectors, no frisking required.

In 2007, the skytrain transported an average of 271,000 passengers per day. In 2009 the Canada Line transported a further 93,000 passengers per day. No fence, no metal detectors, no frisking required.

This Friday, the opening day of the games, 12,000 pedestrians and 4000 cyclists crossed the Burrard, Cambie, and Granville bridges. No fence, no metal detectors, and no frisking required.

Security? Really? If this were truly the case, surely it would be venue wide and would include high capacity areas such as public transportation, bridges, Robson Street...

I have no problem with checks looking for alcohol, making sure we're not taking outside food and drink, and other common place checks that you would expect going into a concert or sporting venue. I DO have a problem with being told that the checks are for MY security when, in actual fact, security has very little to do with it!

I saw a shocking excuse given on the news last night for the fence around the flame: 'Because it's dangerous to have people too close by'.

Apparently not so dangerous that the priveliged few with the IOC or the media or no doubt sponsors passes can get right under the thing to have their pictures taken.

Sure you might not want thousands of people crowding around it but why not have a general viewing area and organise a lineup for closer access where people will have a photo opportunity???

We're good at making people line up - just ask anybody who has been to David Lam park in the last few days...

It's such a shame and really the most memorable thing about a visit to Jack Poole plaza, when the only thing you should remember is the beautiful cauldron and flame :(

Tracey-well said. I'm beginning to think that this "security" is more to do with not allowing unofficial products in to the sites. They are not searching your bags for explosives, they are searchig it for Pepsi!

Speaking of walls, just came back from Whistler; same thing, built this beautiful presentation stage and cauldron, with huge fence around everything that you can't even see through. Kind of unimpressed generally at Whistler, expecting a lot more entertainment etc for all the hype; seemed like just a lot of people wandering around the shops, just like normal at Whistler.

Great article.

That's really surprising to hear considering the hype that was going on about Whistler being party central - even on CTV. I'm glad to hear I'm not missing much.

All these security fences is the Berlin wall of Vancouver Olympics.

Great article.

These walls really cut the visual excitiment of having the games...... if it's Olympic energy that you want......TAKE DOWN THE WALLS!

Gregor Robertson, tear down Vancouver's version of the Berlin Wall at the livecity yaletown. How ugly. How uninclusive. How unimaginative. How uninspiring. Shall I continue. Forget critisizing vanoc for the cauldron and take care of your own fence issues. Take down the wall now!!!!!!!!

Guess the fences and security at Livecity Yaletown didn't achieve much! This just posted:

"Crowd topples fence at Yaletown LiveCity
Vancouver Sun February 16, 2010 11:02

Alexisonfire was a mere ten seconds into their first song when the crowd pushed forward and toppled a metal fence. The concert is cancelled and police and ambulance attendants are on scene.

"Alexisonfire came out on stage and everyone pushed forward. A huge metal fence beng and got toppled," Preston King told The Vancouver Sun.

I think that the fence surrounding the Olympic torch is incredibly unnecessary and absolutely disgusting! After the longest torch relay in history the flame still burns! There were no issues to speak of on the torch relay, and now to keep the flame away from the people whom it's supposed to inspire is absolutely ridiculous!

We are a country of peace, sharing and equality. If they are concerned about security put Mounties stationed at the base of each of the 4 legs!

Make this torch part of the Olympic experience! The games are for the people, so let the people in!

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