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Eighty per cent support hosting 2010 Winter Olympic Games

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But Olympic watchdog groups call poll results ‘irrelevant’

Several locals have received calls in the last couple of weeks as the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation carries out polling to gauge support for hosting the Winter Games.

International marketing firm Ipsos-Reid, a "Friend of 2010," carried out the survey of people in B.C. and across Canada as an in-kind service.

It found over 80 per cent of British Columbians and Canadians support the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler.

The survey was done for the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation in March, April and May as part of its preparations for the 22-question "mini-bid book" which each applicant city must submit to the International Olympic Committee by May 31st.

Only the results for March were released.

Bid spokesman Sam Corea said results for April and May would not be released in case it gave away valuable information to competitors.

"It says more than 80 per cent of Canadians and British Columbians support the bid for the 2010 Games and that is all that we are prepared to reveal at this time because that is what we have given to the International Olympic Committee," said Corea.

"We have figures (for April and May) but at this point because of international competition I can’t give you those figures.

"…Providing detailed polling information really could tip our hand competitively so what we know is the support is there. There is a clear majority in all numbers."

Whistler’s Van Powel, who co-manages an Olympic information Web site (www.whistlerolympicinformation.com) believes the poll is nothing more than "feel good-marketing."

"I won't put much stock in polls until I've seen a frank discussion of the implications," said Powel.

"Otherwise it strikes me as little more than feel-good marketing fluff.

"You know, I wonder how many people polled in the Kootenays today would say spending $70 million of taxpayers' money to build an Olympic ski jump north of Vancouver is more important than a hospital in Kimberley?

"Or how many British Columbians who have just seen their medical premiums go up by 50 per cent think a rapid transit line from the airport to downtown Vancouver is a priority in their life?

"How many B.C. lawyers feel having an Olympic luge run in Whistler is more important than funding legal aid? These Games would cost British Columbians over a billion dollars."

Am Johal of the Impact of Olympics on Community Coalition said from Vancouver that the poll results are meaningless as people do not have enough information about how the Games are going to impact communities to answer the question.

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