VANCOUVER, B.C. - Private security during the 2010 Olympics will cost almost $100 million.
A consortium made up of one American and two Canadian firms will provide the service during the Games, the RCMP-led Olympic security unit announced on Thursday. The U.S. firm, Contemporary International, worked at the Beijing and other previous Olympics and is already doing some work with the 2010 organizing committee.
The other two companies are Alberta-based United Protection Security Group and Ontario-based Aeroguard.
"At least 80 per cent of the value of the contract has to be provided by individuals based in Canada," said Cpl. Jen Allan of the Olympics' Integrated Security Unit.
"This company is in compliance with that."
The full amount the three companies will be paid won't be worked out until after the Games, but won't exceed $97.42 million.
"We're proud to bring our extensive experience in security to this important assignment," said a statement from the consortium, which is calling itself Contemporary Security Canada.
"Not only are we ideally suited, we will be contributing to the economic and employment opportunities here in B.C. with the hiring of an estimated 5000 people for the 2010 Games."
Contemporary Services Corporation, a sister company of Contemporary International, won the contract earlier this year to provide security for the Vancouver convention centre.
The overall security budget for the Games is $900 million, about half of which is being spent by the RCMP in their role as the co-ordinating agency.
In addition to private security, around 7,000 police officers and 4,000 soldiers are also involved in Games security efforts.
Local security agencies weren't surprised Thursday when told the contract was awarded to companies outside of B.C.
"The issue with the Olympics is such that none of the local companies wanted to do it," said Leo Knight of Paladin Security, a Vancouver-based firm.
"The number of people they were looking for is slightly less than the number of security guards in the province today. We didn't think it would be reasonable for us to look at doing something like that for essentially 90 days worth of work."
A new licensing program in place for security guards allows them on the job with little prior training, and while that increases the potential pool of staff, it isn't necessarily a good thing for a high-profile event like the Games, said Camil Dubuc, president of Vancouver's Genesis Security.
In their release, the consortium said they will run an extensive training program.
"Our company is committed to providing quality customer service to Olympic visitors, while maintaining the RCMP's safety and security standards at all times," the release said.
Also announced Thursday was the awarding of a $30 million contract to Honeywell Canada to provide electronic security equipment for the outside of venues during the Games.
ISU spokesman Cst. Bert Paquet didn't specify exactly what kind of equipment that means, but the ISU had said earlier it would involve motion-detectors and cameras.
"Honeywell owns it, the ISU does not own it," he said.
"This is a service contract only for installation, maintenance and removal."
The use of security cameras during the Games has raised a lot of concerns both among privacy activists and residents who fear it will create a legacy of eyes in the sky watching every move.
Security staff and politicians have stressed that any cameras put up for the Games will be temporary.
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