$1.2-Billion Olympic Ghost Town
There are many former Olympic venues currently sitting unused (Montreal’s Big O, anyone?) but it’s rare to see entire areas sit vacant. According to reports, the majority of Vancouver’s Olympic Village condos remain unsold. part of the City’s economic plan to come out on top after the Games was turning the housing it built for Olympic athletes into permanent residential units.
With Canadian cities still feeling the strain of a global recession, the idea that Vancouverites could end up paying for this miscalculation is not sitting well with local press. At an international press conference this morning (ReNew Canada filled out the Toronto table while international press stared back at us on a boardroom-sized screen), reporters from CTV Vancouver questioned the City’s decision to send Mayor Gregor Robertson to the Shanghai World Expo in China. Robertson maintained that the trip is “a good investment” in Vancouver and will help raise the City’s international profile.
President of local tech company, Pulse Energy, David Helliwell, supported Robertson by saying business missions like the one in which they were both participating to China, are an important step in building the necessary relationships to keep Vancouver’s economy strong. Helliwell was there, along with representatives from Cisco, to announce a partnership between the City of Vancouver, Cisco, and Pulse Energy to implement technologies for building-energy management, home-energy management, urban carbon-footprint reduction and data center efficiency.
The partnership will let Cisco and Pulse turn parts of Vancouver into a living lab. The pilot of the Cisco Network Building Mediator, combined with Pulse Energy software, will monitor and manage energy consumption for several city-owned buildings, including City Hall.
An eventual goal is the development of a green data centre at UBC to foster research, development and deployment to advance the transition to the real-time data acquisition and integration of smart grid applications.
Work is underway on using yet more Cisco technology to create an Urban EcoMap. The idea is that residents can go online to find out how their lifestyle is contributing to carbon emissions. The tool provides information on carbon emissions from transportation, neighborhood energy and waste use, and delivers “tips” on ways to reduce a resident’s carbon footprint. It’s in use in cities like Amsterdam and San Francisco already.
According to Robertson, the initial pilot will come at “no direct cost to the City’s budget.” What does that mean? Robertson says, “The savings generated [by the efficiencies created] should more than offset any costs.”
This is all part of Robertson’s plan to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020. “Vancouver will become an economic hub for the advancement of green technologies,” said Robertson this morning.