UBC to provide Pacific Games venues

Athletes attending the Pacific Games in Vancouver in 2001 may be housed in UBC student residences following a decision by UBC's Board of Governors last month to negotiate UBC's participation as one of the Lower Mainland venues for the games.

The board's decision came after Maria Klawe, UBC vice-president, Student and Academic Services, recommended to the board that UBC enter formal negotiations with the games organizing committee.

"The recommendation in favour of UBC participation followed consultation with members of the UBC community, on campus and in the surrounding neighbourhoods," said Klawe. "Our negotiations with the organizers will be directed toward ensuring the university's involvement leads to benefits for the UBC community and that the overall effect on UBC and the surrounding communities is a positive one.

"Participation in these games will lead to many opportunities for the university. Student co-operative programs, student employment, business opportunities for campus units, and improvements to existing facilities are some of the direct benefits the university and its community will enjoy."

Klawe's submission to the board recommended that athletes participating in the games, June 16-29, 2001, be housed in UBC student residences at Totem Park and Place Vanier. Some accommodation has also been reserved in the Walter Gage Residences.

Games organizers will also gain access to facilities including War Memorial Gymnasium, the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine centre, the UBC Aquatic Centre, the Winter Sports Centre, Thunderbird Stadium and certain playing fields.

About $10 million in construction will be spent on sports facilities in the Lower Mainland, with about $7 million earmarked for UBC. This will include improvements to Thunderbird Stadium and the UBC Aquatic Centre. The Pacific Games will cover all games costs at UBC. The games are budgeted at $148 million with the goal of securing two-thirds funding from the private sector and one-third from government.

The games will bring 3,000 to 4,000 athletes to Vancouver to compete in sports including athletics, aquatics, badminton, basketball, boxing, gymnastics, judo, rowing, rugby, skating, soccer, softball/baseball, table tennis, triathlon and volleyball. Events planned for UBC include athletics, aquatics and judo. Other possible venues include BC Place, GM Place, SFU, Swangard and Nat Bailey stadiums.

The program comprises three components: the games, the Pacific Economic Forum and Sport Exposition, and the Pacific Cultural Festival, which will highlight the First Nations as the original host culture.

The number of foreign visitors to the games is projected at 15,000, including 10,000 from overseas and 5,000 from the U.S. Spectators at the games could reach a total of 100,000, organizers estimate.

The first Pacific Games was held in Cali, Colombia in 1995. The second will take place in Santiago, Chile in 1999.