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Bid corp. outlines visions for Callaghan Valley

Bid corp. outlines visions for Callaghan Valley Three visions were outlined for the development of Callaghan Valley this week at an open house hosted by the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation.

Bid corp. outlines visions for Callaghan Valley

Three visions were outlined for the development of Callaghan Valley this week at an open house hosted by the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation.

"People have asked us what is going to happen to the valley if you put the venue in there," said George McKay director of the Callaghan Valley Master Plan process.

"So we thought we would get people together and talk about some ideas and options and try and articulate concepts that would provide some direction."

The valley has been selected to host the Nordic event centre should Vancouver and Whistler win the right to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee will decide that in July 2003.

The Nordic events account for about one-third of the more than 200 medals handed out at the Olympic Winter Games. Biathlon, cross-country ski racing, ski jumping and Nordic combined make up the Nordic program at the Games.

The Callaghan Valley site is 8.5 kilometres from the highway turn off. The turn-off is 12.7 kilometres from Whistler. Parts of the valley have been logged and there are other interests, including mining and backcountry activities, on-going in the vicinity.

Under option one the status quo would be maintained.

"We simply add the venue to the mix of activities that are in the valley," said McKay.

"We have to understand that from a bare bones point of view that is always an option."

In this option the athletes village would be outside the Callaghan Valley.

There would be public access to all crown land for both self-propelled and motorized recreational uses.

The existing commercial recreational tenures would be maintained, enabling the continuous operation and growth as outlined in management plans.

Current resource extraction would continue as outlined in existing agreements.

Option 2 is closest to the proposal which will be outlined in the Bid Book currently being put together by the Bid Corporation. The Bid Book must be submitted to the IOC in January. It describes how the Games will be hosted.

"This option is more closely aligned with the bid proposal," said McKay.

Titled "Lower Callaghan Focused Development" option 2 envisions an athletes village and training centre near the highway access.

This would be turned into resident restricted housing after the Games and a permanent residence for visiting athletes.

Transit to Whistler is part of the plan, as is "a capacity, developed over time, to accommodate 8,000 permanent residents."

The vision also discusses the development of a "relatively complete community, separate, yet related to Whistler."

This would include development of additional services like a post office and other services.

The Nordic trail system would also be developed into a commercial cross-country skiing and mountain-biking area aimed at the beginner to intermediate level.

There is even mention of the development of a golf course.

Option 3 is similar to option one but eliminates motorized recreation in the area and presents the valley as an enclave for self-propelled commercial and public recreation.

Under this option the athletes village would be located outside the Callaghan.

The Master Plan for the Callaghan has also incorporated environmental and hydrology studies.

The findings of the hydrology assessment led the bid corp. to re-position the ski jumps, some of the stadiums, the parking and the paved road system, which will carry spectators in and out of the venue.

The environmental study found tailed frogs, Harlequin ducks, and some large tracts of old growth forest which needed to be taken into consideration.

"We will be looking at state of the art facilities going in there and the approach we will take will be to focus very heavily on minimizing the impacts of being in there," said McKay.

The Master Plan is an evolving work and evaluations of impacts will continue through the spring. There will be more opportunity for community input, said McKay.

If Whistler and Vancouver are chosen to host the 2010 Games even more public consultation will take place.

Recently there has been heated debate at council level about the development of the Callaghan.

Last week council gave first two readings to a bylaw to amend the Official Community Plan. The amendment would designate the Callaghan and the South Cheakamus Bench, across from Function Junction, as areas for future development.

Councillor Ken Melamed opposed the amendment, which many on council view as technicality as the resort moves toward hosting the Olympics.

There will be a public hearing on the bylaw at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov.18 in council chambers.

This will be the last council meeting held by the current council. The following council meeting, on Dec. 2, will be held by those voted into office this Saturday.

That means that the council hearing from those at the Nov. 18 public hearing may not be the same council which decides whether to or not to amend the OCP.

The municipality negotiated with the provincial government to get 300 acres in the Callaghan Valley as a community land bank. It is part of a legacy package from the Games.

The land bank will come to the municipality whether the resort gets the Games or not.

The decision facing the community is whether or not to develop the area for housing.