No Swiss miss: Mayor to speak at IOC summit

by Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun
Mayor Sam Sullivan is heading to Lausanne, Switzerland, for the first meeting of Olympic host cities in what is expected to be his last international trip as Vancouver’s mayor.
The Lausanne Summit is being attended by officials from former and current host cities, as well as those wishing to bid on Olympic Games.
Sullivan said he’ll use the summit to push for better organization of Paralympic Games, which he believes haven’t earned enough attention. “This is the first time Olympic cities have come together to discuss the impacts the Games have on them. I intend to use this to stress the need for higher focus on the Paralympics.”

Sullivan left Vancouver Monday for New York, where he spent a day touring a social housing project and meeting with staff at the New York Times, en route to Lausanne.
This will be the second time since he lost the Non-Partisan Association mayoral endorsement to Coun. Peter Ladner that Sullivan has taken an overseas trip at taxpayers’ expense. He represented the city at the closing of the 2008 Beijing Games and carried the torch at the Paralympics. Sullivan spent 20 days in China, but David Hurford, his press secretary, said the mayor personally paid for about a week of his trip between the events.
“The mayor was required to be in Beijing for both the closing of the Olympics and the opening of the Paralympics and it would have been more expensive to fly him back to Vancouver in between,” Hurford said from New York. “The mayor spent some personal time in between at his own expense.”
Hurford said the Lausanne Summit is paying for accommodation and meals of Sullivan and assistant city manager James Ridge, while flights are being covered by the city. The New York leg of Sullivan’s trip is paid for out of his mayoral budget.
The summit, which is underwritten by the IOC, is being pitched as a chance for Olympic cities past, present and future to discuss the impact of the Games. Topics include how cities “can use the Olympic experience to create a long term favourable political environment” and how the Games accelerate city planning and urban regeneration. Sullivan said he’ll speak about how the Olympics helped spur more investment into social housing programs in the Downtown Eastside.