Smithers councillor reports from Olympic front lines

Town of Smithers councillor Charlie Northrup is currently working hard in Vancouver as a host volunteer for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. He has provided a report of what life is like helping to make the Games go smoothly:

After the first two days of getting the uniform and the on-site training, it was the final training and review of the 50-page manual we had received in advance.

Being a host volunteer could have some many different opportunities and varied experiences. I am very lucky to have the Pacific Coliseum for my worksite. When I see volunteers working transit or bus site specific locations in the various weather conditions, I appreciate my opportunity.

Management has worked hard to share the venue giving us inside and outside duties. The “field-of-play” level is amazing as the public would have no idea of what is happening behind the scenes and below the spectator level. Spectators have been great and easier to control than the media or “individuals” who think they should have access to restricted areas.

Yes, we do get opportunites to see live events depending on duty location. All my shifts are afternoon and venue days. Other opportunites might have you controlling access to the Olympic Lounge, where you smile and welcome the “proper access” officials and restrict others. Anybody who is anybody at the venue would pass this site. I spent two hours here Tuesday evening and saw many known faces.

Today is the second of four straight working days and I look forward to the shift. Yesterday I had a day off leaving at 9 a.m. and returning at 10:30 p.m. that included taking in the Canadian women beating Sweden in hockey.

The amount and multiple locations of the free “live” events is fantastic. Had one realized what these locations did, Smithers should have had a community “live site” for the community to gather and cheer on the events and Canadians. If you picture the Smithers torch event and on-site stage, that type of crowd is everywhere but ten times the size. It takes 30 minutes or longer to get access with the line-ups from “live city Vancouver” to Alberta house. Walking Robinson and Granville streets in the evening is a true experience as it is wall-to-wall excitement.

While I miss not being at home for council duties, the Town staff have kept me informed with emails and mailings which I appreciate.

Charlie Northrup

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