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Public invited to view plans for 2010 athletes village

Input sought on first draft of master plan

After years of hearing about it residents will get to see first hand, and offer input on, the plans for the athletes village for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The public is invited to attend an open house on the village at the Spruce Grove Field House on Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

The Whistler 2020 Development Corporation, formed by the municipality to develop the village and neighbourhood, will present the draft master plan followed by a question and answer period.

Located in the Lower Cheakamus, the development will be home to some 2,500 athletes and their support staff during the Games. It must be ready for athletes by Aug. 31, 2009. The hope is that is will be finished before that so that athletes can use it for housing as they practice their sport.

Once the event is over the housing will become part of a new resident-restricted neighbourhood. The area can support significantly more development that what is envisioned for the athletes village. On the whole, municipal staff estimate that about 135 acres is developable. The developable area sits just north of the landfill and on the south side of the existing road up to Loggers Lake. Another portion of land south of the landfill could be developed at a later date.

Long-term plans include a commercial core, which would hold a convenience store, neighbourhood pub and small bistro.

Maureen Douglas, director of community relations in Whistler for the Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Games, is hoping for a good turnout for the open house.

"We are looking for great design ideas and enthusiastic community input to ensure that facility can capture as many community needs and desires as is possible," she said.