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Plenty of casino talk in Ballem's Olympic agenda 0

BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS

Vancouver's city manager spent three hours gabbing about gambling on Feb. 25.

According to Penny Ballem's calendar, obtained via Freedom of Information, she met with Housing and Social Development minister Rich Coleman about Hastings Racecourse before discussing the racino's operating agreement with unnamed Great Canadian Gaming officials. She also had a conference call with Edgewater Casino president Scott Menke.

Click here to see Penny Ballem's calendar

Feb. 25 was the last Thursday of the 2010 Winter Olympics. City hall spokeswoman Wendy Stewart said Ballem refused to comment.

During the Games, Ballem's schedule included daily Emergency Operations Centre policy briefings and teleconferences with city hall chief of staff Mike Magee, Olympic services general manager Peter Judd and four others.

Five consecutive days of meetings on "encampments" began Feb. 15 when protesters pitched tents on a Hastings Street lot that was used by VANOC.

Ballem's Feb. 16 schedule included a meeting titled "LiveCity Yaletown capacity review." Later that day, an Alexisonfire concert drew more than 7,600 fans but was curtailed when 19 people were injured by a collapsed barricade.

Year-end financials were discussed Feb. 18, the day before Ballem met with Vancouver Police deputy chief Steve Sweeney, Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit chief Bud Mercer and VANOC executive vice-president Terry Wright to discuss planning for Feb. 28, the Games' closing day.

Ballem and 10 senior city, parks and theatres officials discussed "Olympic costing" on Feb. 24.


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