Communities split on support for 2010 Winter Olympics 

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But Mayor Hugh O’Reilly was quick to point out that Whistler sends a million dollars a day to the provincial and federal governments.

"We provide tremendous funds to provincial and federal governments on an annual basis and there has been very little return in our community," he said.

"I am sympathetic to the (northern) story because I think we have the same one."

He is also concerned that failing to improve the infrastructure along the Sea to Sky corridor will in the long run compromise Whistler, which is responsible for a billion dollars of tourism revenue every year.

"Some of that is at risk if we can’t sustain the infrastructure," said O’Reilly.

"It is an extremely competitive market."

He believes the spin-offs to B.C. from hosting the Olympics will compensate the province for the investments made in specific areas.

"The government hopes the Olympics is the catalyst that draws world investment and attention to the province," he said.

"The provincial plan is to help the other parts of the province to be able to fund new infrastructure for schools and hospitals and other needs as a result of that investment.

"There are a lot of great opportunities here.

"I think the premier has to get out and communicate to the northern communities that they are not being forgotten and they are well recognized as deserving of funding, just as we are."

Not all mayors "north of Hope" are concerned about the Olympics.

John Ranta, mayor of Cache Creek, believes many people support the Games.

"I think there is an awful lot of debate about whether the Olympics will ultimately generate a benefit," he said.

"Hopefully we have sharp enough people in the provincial government managing the Olympic Bid in British Columbia that they will at least be able to balance the books on it.

"I am optimistic that it would be a great event for the province and it would profile the province not unlike the way Expo 86 did, and I think that would be a significant benefit for the area.

"Generally speaking most of the people that I speak to would love to see an Olympics, they just don’t want to see a big whack of money spent to get them here."

UBCM President Hans Cunningham, of the Central Kootenay regional district, hopes more information about the Games will help northern communities realize the Games also present an economic opportunity for them.

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