Whistler will have to identify a site for high-tech industries if it wants Discovery Parks to discover any more about the town.
But designating such a site is very likely, according to the municipality’s Whistler 2002 workbook.
Mark Betteridge, who is examining the possibility of building small high-tech parks outside the Lower Mainland, says he has had one meeting with Whistler representatives to see if there is any interest in such a park in Whistler.
"It’s pretty early days, I’m afraid," Betteridge says.
"The first issue is to find a location, and we haven’t had time to look yet.
"If a location is available, then we have to find out if it’s feasible.
"We hope to be back in January to have a look."
Discovery Parks Inc. is a non-governmental organization that builds high-tech buildings for private, high-tech companies. In some instances Discovery Parks acts as a landlord, in other instances the company sells the buildings to the tenants.
Discovery Parks is driven by an independent foundation whose members are UBC, SFU, UVIC, BCIT and the Science Council of B.C. The best known of Discovery Parks’ projects is the large high-tech centre in Burnaby, near BCIT.
Diversifying the local economy, including attracting high-tech industries, is one of the goals set out in the municipality’s recently released Whistler 2002 workbook. While the entire workbook is intended as a working document and all goals and priorities are open to public discussion, part of the vision statement reads: "We will diversify our economy into secondary industries, particularly in the areas of education, arts and culture and technology." The vision statement further suggests: "The municipality will designate sufficient land for a business park that will incorporate light industry, technology and commercial operations..."
The Whistler Chamber of Commerce also has an Economic Diversification committee, chaired by Calvin Winter, whose own business — Quantum Technologies — is a high-tech company.