City folks to exit during Games

While a recent poll suggests 12 per cent of Lower Mainlanders will leave town during the Olympics, a Kerrisdale-based security company is seeing a dramatic surge in their home-watching business during the games.

Mike Jagger, president of Provident Security, said multiple requests are coming in daily from west-side Vancouver homeowners who are leaving town during the Olympics.

Jagger said the busiest times for Home Watch, traditionally, is spring break and Christmas, but he’s already doubled the business for the Olympics that he had at Christmas.

Jagger will have to hire additional employees to get through the Games.

His staff collects mail, checks the house is secure, changes the lighting and even cleans cat litter pans. The service starts at $30 a visit.

“We’ve got staff that will be doing nothing but scheduled Home Watch visits,” he said.

Jagger said clients are giving contact numbers in Mexico and Hawaii. Others are heading to Whistler.

“It’s been interesting to see the people who are really excited about staying in town and figuring out how to get to as many things as they can and other people are saying, ‘Let’s just escape completely,'” Jagger said.

The Mustel Group Market Research poll found 88 per cent of Metro Vancouverites will stay home during the Games, 63 per cent plan to watch it on TV while 22 per cent plan to attend some events or activities.

Fifteen per cent have no interest in the Games. The poll of 511 adults was conducted between Jan. 6 and 13.

Twelve per cent are expected to leave town for all or part of the Games and couples without kids are the most likely to leave town.

Travel agent Valerie Fisher, of Uniglobe Quest Travel in False Creek, said there likely isn’t an agent anywhere in town who hasn’t heard the words, “Help me get out of here for the Olympics.”

Her business for February is more brisk than usual but she said there’s still many trips left for Vancouverites to escape to sunny locations.

“I can tell you I have booked my ticket out of town for the Olympics,” laughed Fisher. “I” m going to Mexico for two weeks.”

Published January 20, 2010 · The Province · Written by Lora Grindlay

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