Communities split on support for 2010 Winter Olympics 

Halls were humming at the annual general meeting of B.C. municipalities this week as community leaders debated the pros and cons of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

As the meeting wore on it became apparent that a north-south rift was occurring as northern communities began to ask what was in it for them to support the bid for the Games.

"I think it will definitely make a difference to urban British Columbia but I don’t see any benefits to us," said Mary Glassford of the Cariboo Regional District.

She voiced her concerns during a forum on the 2010 Games at the annual general meeting of the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

"I don’t think there was one of us at our board who doesn’t feel the Olympics are good because they are," she said outside the forum.

"But I think we need to be shown at the end of the day that to develop the Sea to Sky Highway won’t take away from the issues that are faced in Northern British Columbia or our region."

The Cariboo, like areas across the province, is facing school closures, cutbacks at hospitals and general funding shortages.

The Cariboo Regional District Board is so concerned it took the unprecedented step of passing a resolution saying they were not in favour of the Games.

"We will be sending a letter to the premier outlining this," said Glassford, who admits she is saddened by the move, as she is a great supporter of the Games.

"It wasn’t an easy decision for any of us to make," she said. "But I really have reservations about whether it will help northern B.C."

"It seems that somehow in the whole economics of the province rural and northern British Columbia get left out of the equation yet we are the engine of the province as far as resources and what they contribute to the revenue of this province.

"I think it is time that people recognize the fact that we are the drivers of this province."

The Cariboo is not alone in its concerns.

"The concern in my area is that all the money is going to development of infrastructure for the Olympics at the expense of developing infrastructure up in our area," said Val George of Terrace.

"We have roads with potholes in them and we have fairly major access roads that are still unpaved.

"We so see that (the Olympics) will hold back development of our infrastructure for many, many years."

Grumblings were even heard about why money should be spent on highway upgrades to "wealthy" Whistler.

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