Council to decide Segway’s future in New Year 

Starting a business using a brand new invention isn’t an easy job.

Just ask Caterina Alberti, whose business Advanced Movement Inc., introduces guests and residents to the Segway – the two-wheeled battery-powered human transporter. Alberti’s Segway business began this summer as a pilot project, which allowed her to take guests on tours using certain sections of the Valley Trail.

"It was not an easy start up," admitted Alberti in a brief presentation to Whistler council on Monday night.

Though the business didn’t realize profits this summer, Alberti is hoping to take the Segway touring business beyond the pilot project stage to become a permanent business in the resort.

"There are definitely some expansions we would like to see," she said.

This summer’s pilot project confined the Segway tours to the section of the Valley Trail that winds around the Whistler Golf Course. Alberti wants to take the tours onto routes around Lost Lake Park and by Rebagliati Park. She said she would like to work with the municipality to find creative solutions to share the trails.

After the two and a half month pilot project, which stretched from Aug. 1 to Oct. 15, Alberti believes the Segway’s have great potential in Whistler. Throughout the pilot project, Advanced Movement had six Segways available for tours. Each tour was always accompanied by a guide. There were two tours every day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

Alberti has yet to get feedback from the municipality on the success of the pilot project.

When she first brought her Segway idea to council earlier this year there were concerns about over-crowding the already busy Valley Trail system, among other worries. Council approved the pilot project in part to gauge the community’s support for the business and to see whether or not Segways would be compatible with other Valley Trail users.

Keith Bennett, the municipality’s general manager of parks and recreation, said staff would be preparing a recommendation for council on the future of the Segway business in the New Year.

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