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Security accommodation in corridor lined up

Cruise ships are best option for Vancouver security accommodation

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Officials in charge of security for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have lined up their accommodation for the Sea to Sky corridor.

“We are very satisfied with the response we got for accommodations in the Sea to Sky corridor,” said Cpl. Gursharn Bernier, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Olympics Integrated Security Unit (VISU).

Where that accommodation is in the corridor VISU is not saying — for security reasons.

However, VISU is now tackling how to house all the security officers in Vancouver.

Security wants to stay out of the hotels and regular tourist accommodations as much as possible said Bernier.

“If we leave hotels and amenities open for visitors then they will use not just the rooms they will use the spas, the restaurants, and all of the another accommodation amenities and maybe be repeat customers,” she said.

Security officers are just going to sleep and work.

For that reason VISU is investigating using cruise ships, perhaps berthed at Ballantyne Pier, to accommodate the thousands of personnel needed.

It’s likely to cost at least $5 million, said Bernier and they hope to find lodging for about 5,000.

Ships are also a good option as they offer large meeting rooms where briefings can be held and dinning areas set up to serve thousands.

By offering all this in one location it will cut down on the amount of driving and commuting security personnel will have to do.

Using cruise ships for accommodation is not new. Both the Athens 2004 Summer Games and the Sydney 2000 Summer Games used them.

While there are lots of vessels on the West Coast in the summer, February and March, when VISU would need them, is slow as many cruise ships head to Mexico, the Caribbean and even Hawaii.

The Request for Proposals closes May 2.

Public Works and Government Services Canada is also looking for industry input on security screening requirements for 2010. The industry is being asked to comment on:

• The feasibility of providing 650,000 to 900,000 hours of work.

• Can this level of service be provided with personnel currently trained.

• What level of management would be needed to oversee the staff for this many hours of work.

When a contractor is eventually hired they will be expected to provide 24 hours a day, seven days a week service at numerous venues in Metro Vancouver and Whistler.

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