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Security camp in Whistler a loss for Mount Currie

Band looking into other Olympic opportunities

The Mount Currie Band of the Lil'wat Nation is losing out on a possible $250,000 after Whistler council decided to allow security personnel to locate in the resort municipality, its administrator told Pique in an interview.

Daniel Sailland, senior administrator with the band, told Pique that Mount Currie initially planned to offer services such as catering and infrastructure to the camp if it were to locate in Pemberton's Industrial Park. But with Whistler's decision to grant Contemporary Security Canada a temporary permit to locate on the Rainbow property, Mount Currie is no longer a partner.

"It's a tough break but it's also business," he said. "Whenever you invest there's a risk."

Mount Currie hoped to play a big part in the camp were it to locate in Pemberton. The band owns land in the Industrial Park and was working with numerous businesses that operate in the park to get a housing camp set up there for 1,600 security personnel who will provide screening services at the 2010 Games.

"There's laundry required, there's food, regular janitorial work," Sailland said. "There are significant benefits there for our community market, for example, to be able to provide food to the caterer and to have a caterer that's part of our community working in our new community complex in the kitchen there to produce all the meals and whatnot.

"It would (have been) just a great way to use and introduce the infrastructure and the new businesses that we start and (start off) on a great foot with something that we've been working on with the rest of British Columbia for the past six years."

Sailland said the band spent as much as $30,000 making preparations to help out with the security camp if it were to land in Pemberton.

Ultimately the band estimated it could gain an economic benefit in the neighbourhood of $100,000 to $250,000 if it were to provide services to the camp - something that Sailland always knew wasn't a sure thing.

"Whenever you're taking part in a camp or a business like this, you're bidding," he said. "You're putting forward your best shot, no one ever said it's a guarantee."

Contemporary Security Canada said in an e-mailed statement that it never negotiated directly with Mount Currie and that all negotiations related to temporary housing and amenities were conducted by Target Logistics, a Boston-based company that offers support services for temporary housing.

The consortium went on to confirm that France-based company Sodexo will be handling food preparations for security staff staying at the Rainbow camp.

Now with the camp gone, the Mount Currie Band is looking into other opportunities to participate in the 2010 Games. It has held negotiations with the Toronto-based Look Company to have some Lil'wat seamsters and seamstresses work on banners for the community and help develop Mount Currie's "look" for the Games.

Sailland also said the community held a referendum on Tuesday night to decide whether it wanted to hold a bigger event during the Games. If the referendum were successful he promised to notify Pique what Mount Currie's plans were.