Married to the Games? Whistler’s barely engaged


Last October the RMOW revealed, to a breathless citizenry positively vibrating with anticipation, its long awaited strategic framework for the 2010 Olympics. The town just hasn’t been the same since.

An opportunity like hosting the Olympic Games only comes along once in the lifetime of most small towns, and in a community like Whistler, built on a foundation of idealism and sheer pluck by people with a belief in what they were doing that defied legions of naysayers, the vision for the Olympics was bound to be bold and inspiring.

Well, OK. In a community that sort of, kind of embraced being an Olympic host — although they didn’t get to actually vote on whether they wanted to be part of the Games a majority of Whistlerites polled back in 2002 supported the idea, and lots of people came out to celebrate when the IOC awarded the Games in July 2003 — the strategic framework would at least shed some light on what the Olympics would mean to Whistler. After all, up until last fall virtually the only new information about the Games that most Whistlerites had received since 2003 was updates on venue construction and the announcement that the long-promised financial tools would become a reality.

This was important but hardly the stuff to give some shape and feel to the Olympics, a task made more difficult since most of the venues are out of sight. The strategic framework for the Games would put some flesh on the bones of the 2010 Olympics for Whistlerites.

Well, not exactly. The strategic framework identified Whistler’s commitments and responsibilities as Host Mountain Resort — the things we are obligated to do. It starts with 11 strategic objectives. Each strategic objective contains a risk analysis, a set of assumptions, key deliverables and identifies who is going to deliver them and when.

Strategic objective number one: “To work with our partners in the delivery of extraordinary 2010 Winter Games.” This may be more of an obligation than a “strategic objective” per se, but it’s worth putting down on paper in terms of the strategic framework.

Strategic objective number five — “To engage the community in the 2010 Winter Games experience” — is an area where efforts to date have come up short. There is a RMOW committee working on the plans for the medal plaza on Lots 1 and 9. And within other organizations, like the chamber of commerce, the Whistler Mountain Ski Club and the Whistler Housing Authority, there are committees working on aspects of the Games that will affect their membership. But there is precious little to engage or even interest the general public right now.


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