Whistler searching for athletes village master planner 

Design, development approvals expected 12-18 months after planning team in place

The municipality has put out the call for a prime consultant to do the master planning for the 2010 Whistler athletes village.

The request for proposal has been posted to the municipality’s Web site as well as the B.C. Bid Web site. Interested applicants must respond by Tuesday, Dec. 28.

The document states: "At this stage, we are seeking to identify and select a prime consultant to lead a design team to transform our great vision for the Village into an exceptional design."

The prime consultant will be responsible for the master planning, the site design and the site engineering and servicing work.

The Athlete Village Development Corporation, which is an agent of the municipal government much like the Whistler Housing Authority, will oversee the decision making process for the prime consultant.

Some money has already been pledged to help build the community, though a firm budget has yet to be developed. The Vancouver Organizing Committee will contribute $26 million, with a further $6.5 million for permanent or temporary First Nations housing and another $13 million for the Athletes Centre, which will accommodate 300 athletes as well as training and support facilities.

Post-Games the village will become a residential community in the Lower Cheakamus, opposite Function Junction. The municipality will potentially make money from the sale of houses after the Olympic Games.

Mike Vance, general manager of community initiatives for the municipality, said the business plan, including the budget, will be developed at the same time as the master plan.

"The business plan really flows from the master plan," he said. "We’re really looking at working on developing the site master plan and the business plan through 2005, so the two go hand in hand."

Vance said there would be a host of issues to consider during the planning stages, not the least of which are sustainability initiatives and green building standards.

"We need to have a firm handle on our servicing costs, our expenses, the timing of the development, which facilities are permanent, which are temporary – so there’s a whole range of issues and aspects of the village that we need to consider," he said. "It’s fairly complex and it will take some time. And so much of it depends on really the nature of the neighbourhood and of the village and what the community sees as priorities."

Though the shape and size of Whistler’s newest subdivision remains up in the air there are distinct parameters for the athletes village.

The village site will be divided into four main areas including:

• the residential zone which will house up to 3,000 athletes and team officials in a mix of single-family, townhouse and apartment units;

• the international zone which will include amenities such as a barbershop, post office, Internet café, and dry cleaners;

• operational areas, which deal with the housekeeping services, the cleaning and waste compound and the logistics yard, and;

• transportation/parking areas, which will be the parking and drop-off points for the teams, guests, media and the workforce.

Once the prime consultant has been hired and has assembled a team, the municipality is hoping to have the design done within 12 to 18 months, complete with all the municipal and regulatory approvals in place.

The nine-member board of the AVDC will guide the work on the village/neighbourhood. Its members include representatives from the development community, the Whistler Housing Authority and council. A member-at-large from the community will be announced at the council meeting on Monday, Dec. 20.

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