Jean-Michel Hanssens

Jean-Michel Hanssens

Volunteer team ready to secure Nanaimo Summer Games

NANAIMO – Security volunteers are preparing for influx of athletes, coaches and spectators in July.

Athletes will descend on Nanaimo next month for the B.C. Summer Games and security volunteers are preparing and looking forward to many things.

Teri Anslow, communications liaison chairwoman for security, likes to be prepared for all types of scenarios but as sometimes happens, the unexpected can occur. She said you have to be able to “think on your feet” and points to her experience in the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria where a volunteer motorcycle rider in a motorcade had an accident prior to a race.

“It’s one of those things where you think it’s going to be a simple day, you’re all set up in communication vans out at the site and all of a sudden everything just went sideways,” Anslow said.

She said things had to be shut down as the person was airlifted to hospital, despite the fact race trials were supposed to be taking place. It was tricky but things worked out in the end.

Rob Sampson, a Nanaimo RCMP auxiliary constable and chairman of mobile patrols, said his police experience will help.

“The RCMP uses three sections to the city, a north, central, south,” he said. “I’m incorporating that zone system into our training … that way it’s easy to manage, that way also, through a policeman’s perspective, if we have to call the RCMP, they’ll also be on the same boat as us.”

Jim Foston, part of the sport venue security team, said the security threat level won’t be the same as in other events but dealing the people is the same.

“It’s all smiles and chuckles – that’s what it’s supposed to be. People are here to have a good time, the athletes particularly are here to have a good experience and accomplish what they’ve set out to do,” said Foston.

Jean-Michel Hanssens, director of security and a retired RCMP officer, said like his police work, it’s dealing with people.

“For me it’s not a difficult transition to make,” Hanssens said. “Basically it’s working with people and so [it’s] a scenario I have some familiarity with, although this kind of security work is not the same as police work in a sense that this is smaller security, if you like.”

All manner of volunteers are sought for the Games July 17-20. Please go to