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2010 planning permeates municipality and partners

Planning in conceptual stage, no new information released

Every department of the municipality and its major resort partners is in the thick of 2010 Games preparations.

That much was evident at Monday’s quarterly update, led off by Jim Godfrey, Whistler’s executive director for the 2010 Games.

And while no new information was revealed in the hour-long presentation, it showed just how much preparation is underway.

Mayor Ken Melamed said the presentation, which called on 10 different presenters, gave a very powerful sense of the magnitude and the work required to host the Games.

It included updates from the major department heads at the municipality and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the Whistler Arts Council and Tourism Whistler.

Each provided brief updates on the status of their individual responsibilities as outlined in the 2010 Winter Games Strategic Framework, developed by Godfrey in Whistler’s 2010 Games Office in October 2006. Version two of that framework is scheduled for release in the fall.

This year marks the concept planning stage of Whistler’s preparation.

While the details of that planning are not available, the presenters described what they are responsible for delivering in the months to come.

For example, Chamber president Louise Lundy described the various programs the organization has been charged with developing, from the Business Opportunities Guide (set to be released this fall) to workshops on “How to write an RFP” for local businesses.

Brian Barnett, general manager of Environmental Services at the municipality, gave an overview on the transportation planning for the Games. The preliminary concept plan is expected to be ready by the fall, he said.

The Ministry of Transportation is currently working on designs for upgrades north of Function Junction, added Barnett. Construction, which could include another lane for the Olympics, and which could be turned into a bike lane post-Games, would begin next year.

There will be community consultation throughout.

This idea of engaging the community with the planning was top of mind for Councillor Tim Wake and he asked when the information would be ready for the public.

John Rae, manager of strategic alliances, said he expected community consultation to begin in September/October.

At the close of the presentation Godfrey reminded council of the numerous legacies coming to Whistler from the Games.

They include the obvious legacies such as:

• $10 to $15 million — the estimated value of the 300 acre Community Land Bank;

• $35.5 million — the Whistler Athletes’ Village/employee housing neighbourhood;

• $6 million — annual financial tools

There are also legacies that don’t have a dollar figure, such as the boundary expansion and global awareness of the resort.

And then there are other potential legacies that have yet to be quantified, such as the possibility of foreign country houses leaving infrastructure in the resort.