Richmond Olympic Oval, city staff spend $48,000 visiting museums

The Richmond Olympic Oval will be home to an Olympic museum.  - file photo
The Richmond Olympic Oval will be home to an Olympic museum.
— image credit: file photo

Staff from city hall and the Richmond Olympic Oval have spent $48,000 travelling to Olympic museums around the world, a new report reveals.

Civic politicians also toured oval museums in Japan and China—but piggybacked the visits on official sister city trips.

During the trips, staff met with executives of Olympic museums to help develop plans for the Richmond Olympic Experience, a multi-million-dollar project that will occupy up to 12,000 square feet inside the oval. Originally scheduled to open this fall, the museum is now set to be ready by fall 2014.

John Mills, the oval’s chief operating officer, said cash for the trips is coming from private partners, which haven’t been named.

“Our private sponsors understand the value of this research of Olympic relationships…” he said Monday.

More such trips are likely, once oval brass form an advisory committee to offer input on the museum’s development. Mills said the travel included visits to the re-opening of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland and special events with other Olympic Museum Network members.

Travel included trips to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), Lausanne (Switzerland), Sapporo (Japan) and Xiamen (China).

Shana Turner, an oval administrator, racked up the most in travel costs: $18,581 since 2011. Jane Fernyhough, the City of Richmond’s director of arts, culture and heritage, spent $16,909 since 2011.

George Duncan, the city’s chief administrative officer and chief executive officer of the oval, spent $5,287, while Mills spent another $5,285 in travel.

On Monday Mills provided city council with an update on the museum—currently a $5,635,000 project. City council is contributing $575,000, while other cash is coming from local hotel tax revenue ($2.5 million), sponsorship ($1.06 million) and the oval’s reserve account ($1.5 million).

Operating budget details were severed from the public report.

“It’s an important development project that I think will eventually be twinned with a treasure like Britannia that will give the City of Richmond more tourism content, which would improve visitation and length of stay,” said Mills.

The final design for the museum has yet to be completed. According to project officials, the opening had to be pushed to fall 2014 because of a change in scope.

“As the scope has been significantly expanded to include a stronger emphasis on unique state-of-the-art interactive components, the project schedule has now been set to coincide with the increased scope of the project as it has now been established,” noted Fernyhough in a staff report.

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