Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Olympic plans for Callaghan complex

Tangle of responsibilities, rights, obligations covers valley proposed for Nordic events Who will own and govern land in the Callaghan is just one of many questions that will need to be answered by this time next year if the 2010 Winter Olympic Games

Tangle of responsibilities, rights, obligations covers valley proposed for Nordic events

Who will own and govern land in the Callaghan is just one of many questions that will need to be answered by this time next year if the 2010 Winter Olympic Games bid submission deadline of November, 2001 is to be met.

Governance, zoning and ownership of the proposed Nordic site in the Callaghan Valley are among a host of issues that will need to be addressed in a master development plan for the area.

That plan, which will cover non-sport specific issues, must be completed by September 2001 to meet International Olympic Committee timelines. While all the issues may not be fully addressed by this date, the master plan will need to demonstrate how they will be resolved.

This was the information relayed by the Callaghan-Olympic Advisory Group to Squamish-Lillooet Regional District board members at their monthly meeting held Monday, Nov. 27.

"I didn’t realize how much overlap there was there," noted Pam Tattersfield, SLRD director responsible for parts of the Callaghan.

The SLRD was presented with a work plan that outlines the wide range of issues that will need to be addressed under the master development plan. Those issues include First Nations claims; infrastructure and services; cost sharing, post games management; timber harvesting; environment; commercial recreation; public recreation; zoning, ownership and governance; and mining.

According to the work outline, the area proposed for the Nordic centre is currently Crown land but zoning that land is the responsibility of the SLRD. A portion of the valley, however, falls under the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s jurisdiction. Work needs to be done to determine how best to zone the property and who should ultimately be landowner. This decision will be influenced by who will manage the site following the completion of the games.

However, both the Mount Currie Band and the Squamish Nation both claim the Callaghan as part of their traditional territory.

Work will be required to establish a relationship with each First Nation regarding the Olympics. The master plan will require an archaeological assessment of the Callaghan Valley and it will need to be determined how First Nations can benefit from the Olympics. The team will also need to ensure the bid has their support.

The advisory group has made contact with Lyle Leo of Mount Currie and Randall Lewis of Squamish in this regard. Mount Currie and Squamish are also both represented on the Bid Corporation board.

According to the information presented to the SLRD, the B.C. Assets and Lands Corporation has several applications for commercial recreation tenures in the valley. Work is required to determine which tenures are compatible with the bid and to develop a memorandum of understanding with BCAL regarding how the Crown corporation will be responding to tenure applications in that area.

B.C. Parks also administers a park-use permit for commercial recreation in Callaghan Lake Park. The timeline for reaching an agreement with BCAL has been set for this winter.

The Callaghan is also heavily used for public recreation in both summer and winter. Work will be needed to determine how the Nordic centre can exist alongside public interests.

The timber rights in the valley are held by Western Forest Products. To date the advisory group has been reviewing and approving cut blocks on a one-off basis but a comprehensive harvesting and access plan will need to be developed for the site and for those areas visible from the site.

This plan will need to be crafted in close co-operation with sport-specific planning to ensure the timing and location of harvesting and roads benefits both the forest company and the bid. It also needs to be done as soon as possible so that WFP can begin planning and approval work for next year’s harvesting.

The scope of environmental issues in the Callaghan has yet to be fleshed out. To date environmental issues identified include: the need for an assessment of natural hazards; impact on registered water users; water requirements; impacts on fish habitat; impacts on rare and endangered plants and animals plus critical habitats and; waste management permitting.

The Ministry of Environment has expressed concerns over the preliminary concept plan for the site which indicates a high number of stream crossings. If the number of crossings is maintained, formal authorization for a harmful alteration of habitat under the Fisheries Act would most likely be required. This in turn could trigger a review of the whole facility under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

As the site is undeveloped, there are no existing services for things like power, water or sewer. Olympic officials have indicated a need for two roads into the area and these will require some kind of interchange at Highway 99. The report also indicates that there could be considerable snow removal on these roads. The RMOW has also been involved in a number of studies examining the Cheakamus River’s ability to absorb waste.

The Olympic site will also probably overlap existing mineral claims. Work may be needed to determine what, if any, restrictions might be placed on future mining in the valley.

Critical to the success of the bid will be a plan for funding and management of the Nordic centre after the Games. Work will be required to determine who will be responsible for the venue post-Games and how the site will be paid for.

The work that has been outlined as necessary for the master plan will be carried out by small groups formed specifically to deal with each component. Only participants with a direct interest in, or an ability to resolve the issues will be included in the groups.

The broader review of the results of each working group will likely occur through the advisory group and within government through the Inter Agency Management Committee.

The working groups in turn will fall under the umbrella of a project management team which will co-ordinate the results into the master plan. Team leader Gordon Goodman is being given ultimate responsibility for the plan as project management team leader.

The Callaghan Valley will play a key role in the Games should the Vancouver-Whistler bid prove successful. Out of roughly 200 medals that will be awarded at the 2010 Games, 85 will come from events in the Callaghan. It is proposed as the site for cross-country skiing, ski jumping, bobsled, Nordic combined, the luge and the biathlon.

In addition to the master development plan for the valley, a comprehensive development plan for all the sports facilities will need to be completed within the next 12 months.