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Water and the 2010 Winter Olympics

The 2010 Winter Olympics will take place February 12-28 and the Paralympics from March 12-21 in Vancouver and nearby Whistler.

The Calgary Herald reports that, “Epcor, based in Edmonton, led the design and construction of the water supply and wastewater facilities at Whistler Olympic Park-Paralympic Park.”

Epcor Utilities Inc. is a utility company which manages numerous municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities throughout Alberta and British Columbia.

According to the Edmonton Journal, Epcor “already owns the water system in White Rock, south of Vancouver, and manages several small systems on Vancouver Island.”

A Canadian Union of Public Employees-British Columbia fact sheet notes that, “Epcor Water Services continues to promote privatized water and wastewater systems in Alberta and British Columbia.”

The Calgary Herald report continues,
“Epcor, which has about 3,300
employees in Canada and the United States, will operate these facilities through the 2010 Winter Games.”

‘A special information supplement’ in the June 2009 issue of Report on Business magazine specifies that an Epcor subsidiary will operate the facility through the Games. It also notes that “the source water comes from Madeley Creek.”

The Calgary Herald report adds, “(Epcor’s) current contract runs to July 2010. VANOC (the Vancouver Organizing Committee) owns the facility and ownership and operation will later be transferred to the Whistler Legacies Society.”

But the Edmonton Journal reports that, “Epcor hopes to continue operating the facilities for the Olympic legacy foundation after the Games.”

VANOC is a not-for-profit organization, incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act, guided by an appointed 20-member Board of Directors.

The Whistler Legacies Society has been renamed Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies and describes itself as “a not-for-profit business…” The Board of Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies is not a directly elected, publicly-accountable body.

Whistler Olympic Park-Paralympic Park is located in the Callaghan Valley. The land there was cleared for the 2010 Games. It is expected that the valley, once Crown land but now taken over by VANOC, will eventually be absorbed into the Resort Municipality of Whistler. 25,000 houses will be built in this area and these water and wastewater facilities will service this community.

The Calgary Herald article, ‘Alberta companies play key role in building of Vancouver Games’, is at http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=a5c7bc7b-19e1-47c4-97db-576ad2626a1a.

More on Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies at http://www.whistler2010sportlegacies.com/about/tabid/169/language/en-CA/default.aspx.

The Edmonton Journal article, ‘With every sip of water, flush of toilet, Epcor is there’, is at http://www.edmontonjournal.com/travel/With+every+water+flush+toilet+Epcor+there/1280131/story.html.

The CUPE BC fact sheet on Epcor is at http://www.cupe.bc.ca/3500.

We will have additional analysis on this situation next week.

In the coming weeks we also plan to  issue a short report on bottled water and the Olympics.