TODAY   |  February 09, 2010

Mayor challenged by Olympic preparations

Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson speaks with TODAY’s Matt Lauer about the upcoming Olympic Games, for which the city has been preparing for seven years.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> but right now, we're going to meet the mayor of vancouver , gregor robertson . mr. mayor, good to see you. good morning.

>> good to be here.

>> people are complaining about the weather. i'm not complaining, by the way. i think if it's a little warmer for us, that's okay. are you worried about it?

>> no, i'm not worried about it. we'll have snow at whistler, tons of snow at whistler, and i think vanoc has done a good job, the organizing committee, of making sure there will be snow for the free style competition. down here we don't need the snow. it's mild by the ocean.

>> for spectators.

>> yeah.

>> people walking around your city. you've said in the past it's been a nerve-racking process getting ready for the games and maybe more challenging than you anticipated. what was the hardest part?

>> i would say the overall effort here just coordinating all of the different venue construction. we had a rapid transit line that we put in from the airport to downtown, new highway upgrades on the way up to whistler, a lot of projects all at once, and the scale of it was enormous.

>> you talk about that scale and a lot of money went into those things, those infrastructure projects you just talked about. and critics -- there are always critics -- critics have said that's a lot of money that came out of the pockets of the people of vancouver and could have done to do good in other areas. how at the end of these games are you going to make sure those people are satisfied with what happened here?

>> well, we may not have everyone satisfied at the end of the games , but i think the majority of people here are very keen for the games , are glad to have the infrastructure investments. it's billions of dollars in very useful infrastructure. the greenest venues that have ever been built that will be a legacy for the city for generations to come. so, it's a good investment. you could always talk about where else it could have gone, but i think these are good investments.

>> let's talk security. it's always a concern these days when you gather this many people in one location. how visible -- almost $1 billion has gone into keeping these games safe. how visible will that security effort be to the people who come here?

>> it will be visible as in there will be police around on street corners keeping track and making sure everything's safe. some presence from the military as well, but that's a standard now with mega events like this. we have to make sure these games are safe and secure. i think everyone expects that. it's a big operation to do that across vancouver, whistler, a big area like this, but the bottom line is the games have got to be safe.

>> and the games will begin friday night with the opening ceremony. mayor robertson, i know you've had a lot to do with this, and i wish you all the luck in the world.

>> thanks, matt.

>> thank you very much.

>> enjoy your time.

>> thank you. we already are.

>>> and coming up, a death-defying