A controversial RV park created to accommodate visitors to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, not only failed to make a profit, it cost the park board $70,000, Global BC reported.
Phyllis Tyers, president of the North West Point Grey Home Owners’ Association, said she and many of her neighbours were dreading the Olympics because of concerns regarding the RV camps. They were supposed to hold 300 vehicles at Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach, across the road from the residents’ homes. “We started a petition and made a presentation to the park board, but it turned out that was a waste of time because nobody showed up,” said Tyers. “It was a non-event.”
According to a short report compiled by Philip Josephs, acting co-director of Stanley District, only 145 spots were used with guests staying an average five days. It cost the park board $144,000 to create the RV parks, including $115,000 to hire a contractor to manage them for seven months.
Other expenses included a shuttle bus, sanitary pump-outs and the use of the Jericho Sailing Center for showers. Some items, such as fencing and portable toilets, were donated through sponsorship.
In total, the park board took in almost $75,000, which left a deficit just short of $70,000.
Tyers said the park board should have done its homework before approving the plan. She also believes the RV parks were a done deal before any public consultation was completed. She added that $70,000 could have better been spent on saving the Bloedel Conservatory or to pay for community center programs at risk due to operating budget cuts.
“I think there’s a real lack of priorities,” she said.
But Josephs defends the plan and says it was based on information the park board received at the time, which wasn’t entirely accurate.
He said before the RV camps were approved, the Capilano RV Park in North Vancouver told the park board that it was “sold out” a year before with Olympic visitors from the U.S. What the park board didn’t know is that Capilano didn’t insist on deposits at the time of booking reservations. As it turns out, said Joseph, only 20 to 30 of those reservations were honored.
“It was a bit misleading,” he said. “And the RV park in Coquitlam thought the same thing, but they only had two reservations show up so it was closed down.”
“I feel we did a fair job in doing our homework,” said Josephs.
He added that prior to the start of the Games, the Vancouver Organizing Committee released many hotel rooms it had previously reserved. As a result, only the three Jericho Beach sites were used and the proposed camp at Spanish Banks never opened.
Still, said Josephs, about 400 campers in those 145 RVs enjoyed themselves at Jericho Beach.
“RV patrons from all over North America and even some from Europe were very happy with the amenities at Jericho, especially the services available at the sailing club, one of the board’s partners in this venture,” Josephs wrote in his report. “There were no reported problems with the surrounding neighbourhood.”
On the other hand, said Josephs, the Roundhouse and False Creek community centre rentals generated a net surplus of $555,000 towards capital projects. As well, broadcasting agreements, filming and parking made another $63,000.