Businesses trying to plan for life next to Olympic secure zones 

Creekside operators still unsure how clients will get to them

Royal Bank customers in Whistler are being asked to provide their license plate information if they want to park to do banking during the 2010 Games.

The bank is located on the fringe of the official Whistler Media Centre (at the conference centre), and as such, is affected by the high security surrounding that official venue.

There will be a vehicle screening area on Whistler Way. Any clients going to the parking spaces under the bank may be checked over by security.

RBC will not speak about the details of the plan, other than to say the bank is working under the guidelines of Olympic organizers.

"All I can tell you is that we're working within their regulations to make banking as easy as possible for our clients," said spokesperson Christie Smith.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC) deferred specific comments back to the bank.

But several clients in Whistler have confirmed that RBC is looking for license plate information for the security screening.

Steven Turner, who owns Local Automotive, drives to the branch for deposits about three times a week.

He e-mailed his license plate numbers to the bank this week.

"It shouldn't be an inconvenience," he said.

It's just one of the ways of working around the high levels of security expected to be in place during the 2010 Games in February.

Several businesses in Creekside are facing similar challenges, particularly those located behind the security lines on the east side of the highway.

They are trying to work with Olympic organizers on ways of getting their clients through the security checkpoint on the highway at Creekside.

Dr. David Lane, of Coast Mountain Veterinary Services, just doesn't know what to expect during the Games.

"They show an interest in trying to resolve the problem but unfortunately it's getting to point where we don't have an answer and trying to do scheduling... it's interfering with my ability to do stuff," said a frustrated Lane.

He expects business to be slower just because there won't be the day-to-day check-up traffic at the clinic.

"Given that (the decline in business), at least they could tell us what their plan is... as we're getting pretty close to the 11 th hour," he said.

One plan that was presented was for businesses like the Lane's vet clinic to hand our parking passes to clients. The problem is how to get those passes to clients.

Another option is to encourage clients to use public transit.

"Even if dogs were allowed on the bus, taking a 30 kilogram dog with projectile diarrhea in public transit, will not make you popular," said Lane.

Taking public transit likely won't work for clients of the nearby Whistler Physiotherapy clinic either.

"Being in the physio business, a lot of (clients) are not that mobile so they can't necessarily walk in," said clinic director for the Whistler Physiotherapy Group Gerald Steenkamp.

"I'm not sure how we're going to operate, to be honest."

Even without the added layer of security, it's difficult to predict the impact of the Games on business. But if clients can't drive their car to the parking lot of the clinic, it will make any possible business even more challenging.

"If people are really limited to how they can get there, then we won't be busy," said Steenkamp.

Creekside Dental is also waiting for information to determine how they will operate.

"We definitely will be open," said office manager Diane Duggan. "We're just not sure what that's going to look like in terms of hours."



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