Thousands of bottles recycled at Olympic venues will go to inner-city legacy
VANCOUVER (CP) — Reducing, reusing and recycling just might qualify as an unofficial demonstration sport at the Vancouver Winter Games.
Olympic officials have committed to making the event carbonneutral, and the city of Vancouver has hired binners to short through the mounds of Games garbage for recyclables.
Now bottles from beverages consumed at Olympic venues during the 2010 Games will go to build and operate an outdoor sports court in the city’s povertyridden Downtown Eastside.
It’s a $350,000 investment in the inner city.
Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola announced Monday that they will also turn the recycled plastic into toques, scarves and vests to go back to the Ray-Cam community centre.
Nicola Kettlitz, general manager of the Coca-Cola Olympic Project team, told a crowd near the community centre that a beverage bottle has a long life after the drink is done.
“ You can turn it into another bottle, you can turn it into clothing, like the ones I’m wearing, or you can turn it into a sport court.”
Standing in front of a giant artist’s rendering of the sport court, 18-year-old James Naknakin told the media the entire community is excited about the project.
“This is like the Super Bowl to us right now,” he said grinning. “This is big thing and I’m glad to be a part of this.”
Naknakin was on the project’s community advisory committee and said nothing would have been built without the sponsors.
“It’s a great honour to have people lend a hand and help us out.”
There are about 6,000 registered members at the Ray-Cam Community Centre. Ninety-eight per cent of them are low income and about 45 per cent of those live below the poverty line.
Mary McNeil, the B.C. Minister of State for the Olympics, said getting more people involved in community projects like the one announced Monday extends the legacy of hosting the Olympics in Vancouver.
“The Games have been a catalyst, but they alone are not the end result. It’s what we do afterwards that makes the difference.”
The sports facility is expected to be open by early fall.