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Surveillance cameras planned for Olympic venues



Smile - Big Brother will be watching you at the 2010 Games.

Documents obtained by Pique Newsmagazine under an Access to Information request confirm that closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) will be used in Whistler during the 2010 Olympics.

A PowerPoint presentation prepared for the Integrated Security Unit (ISU), a joint office that is coordinating security operations for the Games, shows HR deployments at each "venue command post," meaning each post pertaining to a specific Games venue. Each facility, according to the presentation, will require a clerk to oversee CCTV monitors.

It goes on to confirm that each venue will be equipped with "zoom-tilt" cameras, but any further information related to the cameras has been redacted.

Beyond information pertaining to CCTV, the PowerPoint presentation says that RCMP already operating in the Sea to Sky area are going to be supplemented with additional police officers to deal with "typical policing issues" and that each command post will be equipped with a single commander and two deputies.

Dawn Roberts, a spokeswoman for ISU, couldn't get into specifics as to how many CCTV cameras would be employed in Whistler during the Games, but said that they'd be in "direct relationship" to the venues being used for the Olympics.

"It's really hard for me to give you an exact number," she said, adding that venues such as at Creekside, the Whistler Sliding Centre, the Whistler Olympic Park and the media centre are being considered for monitoring by CCTV.

Celebration Plaza, despite being re-awarded the medal ceremonies in early April, is "not being considered" as part of security planning with regard to CCTV.

Security planning is a multi-staged process, according to Roberts. First ISU needs to look at the venue itself and how it's been built. Then they need to secure the perimeter and do a series of sweeps.

"Every venue has a specific security plan attached to it," she said. "We don't just look at the use of CCTV, we have this overall approach to our security.

"We look at obvious access points in, and the ones that we also want to protect to reduce the risks. If that means using fencing, using members, using cameras, motion sensors, anything that we can do that would ultimately minimize the risks that will allow us to ensure we have a secure venue, then those are the options we look at."

As far as the cameras remaining after the Olympics are over, Roberts said there is no plan to leave assets behind at venues that ISU is responsible for.

Asked about what kind of technology the ISU will be using for CCTV surveillance, Roberts wouldn't comment, saying that the unit "hasn't really discussed publicly" some of the technology features.

"We're not necessarily using newer technology," she said. "We wouldn't want anybody to know the capabilities of what we're using in order to reduce the risks of those capabilities being taken advantage of."

Other documents obtained by Pique include a Venue Transportation Plan that shows the deployment of personnel at the Whistler Sliding Centre and the Whistler Nordic Centre. The plan expects that a total 60,000 spectators will see bobsleigh and luge events at the sliding centre over the 17 days of the Olympics.

Attendance at the Nordic Centre will be even bigger; VANOC is anticipating 315,000 spectators over the 17 days.