Banners, upgraded lighting part of Look and Feel for Games 

There will be new light displays, Olympic themed banners and a more vibrant Games feel when Whistler's Look and Feel program gets under way in early 2010, prior to the Olympics and Paralympics.

"I believe it will absolutely help to transform Whistler," said Keith Bennett, general manager of resort experience for the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW).

"As you see the Look of the Games go up, particularly around Creekside, which will be very, very visible, and around the Medals Plaza and the media centre you will get a real sense that something is different, and that look will flow right through the village. I think it will have a big impact."

In a report to council this week Bennett outlined the $500,000 allocation for the program, which has always been part of the municipality's Games budget. The money comes out of the hotel tax.

The banners will cost $120,000; Way Finding $55,000; feature lighting will cost $40,000 in services and $265,000 in installations; and the management of the project will cost $20,000.

Bennett said the program is an investment in re-invigorating the resort.

"We do have an ever changing product that is being kept up to date," he said. "We don't remain static."

The RMOW has partnered with Olympic organizers to purchase the banners so that a bulk purchase price can be achieved. Most of the banners will not have the Olympic rings on them and will feature Whistler's name prominently on them so that they will be able to be used for the Paralympics as well.

They will also be a legacy, said Bennett, as they will be re-used to celebrate Whistler's Olympic experience in the years to come.

"In the future we will put these banners back up again in celebration of the Games and to celebrate Games in the future," he said.

The Way Finding enhancements will help visitors enjoy and make their way through the village.

Bennett said the new lighting features would focus on highlighting architecture at key points in the village and at its entrance.

"We have had a look that has been pretty consistent over the years when it comes to our festive lighting and our rotating banner display," explained Bennett.

"And what we are looking at doing is revamping our lighting. Not removing all of what we have done in the past but enhancing that by adding feature lighting, particularly at entry points in and around the village and adding some feature lighting to some specific way finding pieces such as village park and Sightlines Bridge."

The municipal Look and Feel program is closely aligned with the official Olympic program so that guests will have a seamless experience from Vancouver International Airport to Whistler.

Primary colours will stick with the now familiar blues and greens of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic look.

The City of Vancouver is spending $650,000 on their banner program. They will be put up on January 4, 2010.

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