All options for Olympic bid still open 

Contrary to rumours going around town, no decisions have been made regarding an athletes’ village or transportation systems for the 2010 Olympic bid.

"All options are still open. We haven’t eliminated anything," Don Calder, chief executive officer of the bid corporation, said Tuesday.

Calder was in town with other members of the bid corporation for the opening of the bid’s community office. The office, which will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., is located next to the library and museum. It is intended to be a place for the public to access information about the bid and facilitate communication between the bid corporation and the community. Debbie Smythe has been hired to co-ordinate community relations and volunteer activities from the office.

Fireside chats will also be held at the office on a regular basis, starting with a session on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., hosted by Steve Podborski.

Calder said the venues for the Olympic snow sports events at Whistler are technically as good as any site in the world. But transportation and accommodation are going to be the issues for the bid.

The original concept for the bid was that the athletes’ village would be in the Delta and Westin hotels at the base of Whistler Mountain. Calder admitted that is looking less likely now, due to a change in ownership of the Delta and the fact that no binding agreement with the two hotels was signed. However, he said the bid corporation is very aware of Whistler’s requirement that the bid conform with the official community plan.

"We’re re-examining all the elements of the original bid, updating our numbers based on what they expect for Salt Lake City," Calder said.

That includes counting the athletes at the ice events, which will be held in Vancouver, and the snow events, which will be held in Whistler. That will help the bid committee get a handle on what the accommodation numbers and capacity figures will need to be for Whistler.

"The snow events tend to be a series of individual events, on different days," Calder said. Once an athlete has finished his or her events they may return to Vancouver. By contrast, some of the ice events are team events and may require several heats or rounds of qualification over a number of days.

"We have to figure out the peak days for accommodation and transportation, and we’re working those numbers out now."

Calder noted that there will be accommodation in Vancouver for all athletes at the Games, so they can take part in the opening and closing ceremonies, but athletes that compete at altitude expect to be able to stay in accommodation close to that altitude.

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