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Room with views for fenced-off flame

Winter Games organisers have made changes around the site of the Olympic flame on Vancouver’s waterfront to allow easier viewing following a flood of complaints over its position behind an ugly wire fence.


An eye-level gap has been opened up in the fence and the public now have the opportunity for a rooftop view from an adjacent building of the flame, lit on the night of the opening ceremony by ice hockey Wayne Gretzky.

John Furlong, the chief executive of organising committee VANOC, said he had visited the site and was happy with the solution.

“I’ve just come from the location of the cauldron and we’re very happy with the remedy we have in place based on feedback we had,” he told reporters.

“We actually believe we have a solution that’s better than the one people were originally asking for, which is that people can now get above the cauldron. They have a great view deck there.”

Furlong said the cauldron was inside a secure area and in a permanent position, close to the international media centre, which meant organisers had to find a solution that “did not compromise security.”

When asked why making changes had taken so long, Furlong said: “We were on it once it started to become a matter for broad public discussion.”

“It’s not as simple as it looks. This building has the perimeter fence around it. The complex we’re in has that fence around it. The Olympic cauldron is inside that compound.”

“For the people of Vancouver, they’re really excited because it’s beautiful and unique and different. It’s also the closest up anyone has ever been to an Olympic cauldron in all of history. They’re literally feet away from it,” Furlong said.

“Because it was going to be there for the long term it was less of a worry that people would never get a chance to get anywhere near it,” he added.

“We did think it would be obviously an attraction but we didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about what we could do about it because it was inside a secure compound.”

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