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Olympic Flame Burns Rich

The fuel used to light the cauldron in honour of Jack Poole this weekend could heat your home for two years.

By Bob Mackin 22 Oct 2010 | 24 Hours / Vancouver

North Vancouver-based journalist Bob Mackin has reported for local, regional, national and international media outlets since he began as a journalist in 1990.

From 1998 to 2008, Bob was the sports columnist for The Vancouver Courier. During this time, he also wrote for a number of other Vancouver publications including Vancouver 24 Hours and The Tyee. He has worked close to home (he covered the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games), and far abroad: his writing has taken him to Brazil, China, Ireland, Italy, Mongolia, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan and Tanzania. Bob's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Vancouver Province newspaper, Adventure Sports Magazine and The New York Times. He is the author of four books, and won the 2006 B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers’ best sports writing award for an investigation into sports gambling in British Columbia for the Courier. Bob is a regular guest on The Sport Market on Team 1040 Radio in Vancouver.

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Photo submitted to The Tyee photo pool by P Squared Pics.

The Olympic cauldron on Jack Poole Plaza will burn overnight for the first time since March's Winter Paralympics.

A tribute plaque to late VANOC founding chairman Poole will be unveiled 7:30 p.m. Friday, west of the Vancouver Convention Centre. The cauldron will burn through Saturday midnight in memory of Poole, who died of cancer early Oct. 23, 2009 in Vancouver just hours after the 2010 Olympic flame was lit in Olympia, Greece.

The cauldron's first post-Games relighting was for the 13-hour Canada Day at Canada Place on July 1. According to B.C. Pavilion Corporation records, Terasen supplied 98.9 gigajoules of natural gas for $492.13 plus taxes. It also cost $261.74 plus taxes for 52.6 gigajoules during the July 24 Meeting Professionals International Congress evening reception.

B.C. has plentiful natural gas reserves: there is an estimated 91 trillion cubic feet in the province's northeast. But an April-published Statistics Canada report said the average B.C. household powered by natural gas used 81 gigajoules in 2007.

"That's insane, a whole year's household usage in almost 12 hours," said Spencer Chandra Herbert, the NDP's B.C. Pavilion Corporation critic. "What was going through the (cauldron) designers' heads in terms of efficiency?"

Based on information provided, 24 hours estimates the cauldron would have burned 4,564 gigajoules over 25 days during the Olympics and Paralympics -- enough to power 56 houses for a year.

"We do contribute to a carbon offset program to compensate for the emissions that we generate with the cauldron," said Vancouver Convention Centre spokeswoman Jinny Wu.  [Tyee]

Read more: Energy, 2010 Olympics

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