Parking an Olympic concern 

Councillors stress to public need to take buses as ‘part of the Games experience’

If you live in Alpine and want to drive to Marketplace during the Olympics, you are probably not going to be able to do that.

That was the way Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden put it Saturday during the Olympic town hall meeting.

You can take your car, she said, but parking will be the issue.

Indeed, parking and restricted transportation shaped up to be one of the top issues of community concern for the Olympics, accounting for about half of the questions at the event.

Questions ranged from “Will I be able to buy wine from the local liquor store?” to “Will commuting between Vancouver and Whistler be possible during Games time?”

“I think there is a real thirst for information about transit and about transportation in the valley because everybody wants to be certain that they are going to be able to go to work, and that they are going to be able to take their kids to school,” said Wilhelm-Morden on Tuesday.

“And certainly everybody will be able to get to work and everybody will be able to get their kids to school,” she said.

Wilhelm-Morden went on to say that people are going to have to realize that it is going to be very busy in Whistler during the Games.

“As I said at the meeting, if people think that there is going to be unrestricted access, that is not going to be the case. It will be tough to park and people are going to be encouraged to leave their cars at home and get on transit,” she said.

Public parking will be almost nonexistent in the Village during 2010 while the Olympics are in place.

Whistler-Blackcomb’s day skier lots have all been contracted out to VANOC for use during the games, including Lots 6,7, and 8 on Blackcomb and Franz’s Trial at Creekside.

Doug Forseth, senior vice president of operations for Whistler Blackcomb, said that Whistler-Blackcomb is not worried that transportation will affect their skier and snowboarder numbers during the games.

“I think it will affect locals…coming from Vancouver and our regional market, since they don’t have a place to park,” said Forseth.

“One thing that VANOC is preparing to do is provide bus transportation for up to 5,000 people a day from Vancouver,” he said.

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