Arts merger postponed until after 2010 Games 

The Whistler Arts Council and Maurice Young Millennium Place will be too busy to merge before the 2010 Games as initially planned.

Instead, the two organizations are set to join forces in May or June 2010 and become one body that will develop and oversee arts and culture in Whistler and operate out of its main hub, Millennium Place.

"Our plates are more than full for the next six months and the demands on both organizations are a bit overwhelming," said MY Place Interim General Manager Louise Lundy. "However, we are committed to coming together as soon as possible without compromising the quality of the work we have to deliver during this extraordinary time."

Despite the delay in the merger, big changes have been afoot at Millennium Place. Lundy reported at October's annual general meeting that MY Place has improved its financial position significantly in the last two years by reducing the number of performances it produced and operating only as a venue for bookings. Staffing has also been reduced.

There is a focus now, she said, on improving customer service and building on sales and marketing to attract more commercial bookings. That in turn should make the organization less dependent on municipal support. The municipality took over the title on the facility in March.

In the meantime, plans are underway to convert MY Place into the Whistler Media House, run by Tourism Whistler during the Games. It will be the hub for all the unaccredited media and will likely be organizational from early February until March 1.

The Teddy Bear Daycare space will be secured by the Norwegian Church abroad during Games time as a meeting point for Norwegians and other Scandinavian citizens. Visitors will also be welcome and have the chance to sample some Norwegian waffles.

The money from the Olympic rentals has been committed to capital improvements at MY Place, including repairs to the HVAC system, security upgrades, repairs to the outside of the building, new carpeting and improved air conditioning in the lower floors.

Sue Adams, chair of the MY Place Society said: "Our Society is excited about the future of the arts, culture and heritage sector in Whistler."



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