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Detailed questions for VANOC at last pre-Games meeting

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Will I be able to get gas from the Husky Gas Station during the Olympics?

If I accidentally ski into the athletes' village area, what happens?

If I live in Spring Creek and I am going to an event in the Callaghan, do I need to bus to the village to get on the Whistler Olympic Park Express shuttle?

These were just some of the detailed questions asked during the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC)'s final town hall meeting in Whistler on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the Telus Conference Centre.

About 150 community members of all ages attended the fast-paced, two-hour meeting, where Olympic stakeholders comprehensively reviewed what Whistler residents can expect between Feb. 12 and 28 when the 2010 Winter Games are in session.

After the meeting, when asked how the community's questions have changed since VANOC's first public Olympic meeting in January 2008, director of operations communications and the evening's MC Maureen Douglas responded: "The knowledge of the person asking the question is definitely greater.

"With every single (public meeting), people arrive more informed and more educated. It really reflects the lifestyle of a community going through the Games."

Douglas added that the tension among Whistler's community members also seems to have dissipated quite a bit over the last two years.

"In the absence of information, people's concerns mount a little bit," she said. "Information and knowledge is really providing that comfort and confidence."

The evening was punctuated by a couple of heart-felt moments: a speech from long-time community member Andree Janyk, mother of Olympic medal contenders Britt and Mike Janyk; and an emotionally-charged video documenting the Olympic torch's recent journey through Canada's northern territories.

"Seeing that video makes me want to do those people proud," said Douglas.

"We are trying to build Canada's Games and an incredibly remote part of the country has responded like that."

Representatives from VANOC, the Ministry of Transportation, the Integrated Security Unit, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Chamber of Commerce, and Tourism Whistler were on hand throughout the evening to answer one-on-one questions.

Douglas also stressed that all the information on the Olympics is available at Whistler's official Games website,

"I'd love to have coffee with each and every one of you many times between now and the Games, but I don't think that is going to happen," Douglas told the crowd. "We really are asking you to stay apprised of all the information."

Some noteworthy pieces of information for residents that were presented during the evening are:

• The Games time bus pass, good for all of February, is now on sale for $38.50

• Whistler residents should receive two Sea to Sky highway permits in the mail sometime in the next few weeks. People who don't receive their permits by Dec. 31 should visit Whistler's permit office. Tenants can also get permits at the Whistler office.

• The new Olympic Lane between Function Junction and the village will be in operation by Feb. 4.

• The Olympic Express Bus is now scheduled to run between the village and Function Junction, not Emerald Estates and Function Junction.

• The Ministry of Transportation will use a short portion of railway between Horseshoe Bay and Squamish as highway during the Games. The ministry is working with CN Rail to ensure there are no problems.

• A comprehensive overview of transportation during the Olympics is available at