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New jackets for municipal staff during Games

Vancouver-based company set to deliver 350 jackets

Municipal staff will be putting their best face forward for the 2010 Games, snug and smart in brand new Arc'teryx jackets.

Whistler's chief administrative officer Bill Barratt would not confirm the jacket supplier this week but he did say 350 blue waterproof shells are now on order.

Each jacket will have official 2010 logos as well as the logo for the resort municipality.

The majority of staff will be wearing the uniforms, from snowplow operators to staff working as hosts, in an effort for Whistler to put its best face forward during the Games. Council members too, are expected to receive jackets because of their hosting responsibilities.

"This is the opportunity to present ourselves to the world as hosts, as Canadians," said Barratt.

"My view is that our staff... and our community, has got to step it up and they've got to deliver, on behalf of Canada, the Canadian spirit and who we are and what we are as a country.

"People might think otherwise but this is the opportunity to leverage the Games."

Arc'teryx is not an official supplier for the 2010 Games. As such, Whistler had to follow certain guidelines before settling on the Vancouver-based company.

"We looked at different suppliers but based on price, product, and quality, we went with a Vancouver-based supplier," said Barratt.

"We had to go through some hoops but under the... rules we were allowed to do that."

He would not elaborate on how much the deal costs.

"What I can tell you is that they're within our budget that we have allocated and we got really good competitive pricing."

The budget Barratt is specifically referring to is the $650,000 line item titled "Volunteers and Staff Engagement" in the RMOW's $2.8 million Games' budget.

In addition to uniforms, other costs covered by that line item are: administration, training, recognition and food services.

It is expected that most staff will be working outside and that's why these waterproof shells are needed.

A planner, for example, may be moved off regular planning duties and spend Games time involved in signage enforcement because they know the stringent Olympic sponsorship regulations.

Barratt knows too that Whistler will need more snowplow operators to keep the Valley Trail clear as well as access to the venues. An e-mail has gone out to staff to see who has the appropriate driver's licence to operate a plow.

Another e-mail has polled what languages staff members can speak in order to maximize their talents.

And there will be hosting duties which will fall to staff.

The City of Vancouver is also looking at purchasing jackets for staff members. It is not clear what that program will look like yet. Vancouver staff is preparing a report, expected to go before council for approval on April 21.

"We are developing a uniform program and it's going to be part of an overall staff deployment strategy," said Marnie McGregor, project manager for Vancouver.

Richmond too, is looking at jackets but as yet no details are available.