Family life during Games topic of discussion 

High school space still not rented, school district may have to secure facilities

A Whistler parent organization is hosting a meeting to talk about what life will look like for kids and families during the 2010 Olympic Games.

It will be held at Myrtle Philip Elementary School at 7 p.m. in the Millar Room Thursday, Oct.1.

Elementary schools in Whistler will be open for one week of the Games, Feb. 15 through 19, and closed for spring break from Feb. 22 through 26, the second week of the Games.

Whistler Secondary will be closed throughout the Olympics from Feb. 8 to March 2, 2010.

"There have been a lot of questions about how it is going to look for families here during the Olympics," said Cathy Jewett, chair of the District Parent Advisory Council, which is organizing the event.

"Now that we have snow on the mountains.... the reality of the Olympics is that it is just getting closer and closer."

Over the past several months the community has heard from a number of organizations about programs that might be in place, but so far little information has been confirmed. There may be special ski school programs with extra childcare hours tacked on the end of the day and there may be programs at the Meadow Park Sports Centre.

It has been confirmed in recent days that the Whistler Public Library will be closed throughout the Games as will MY Millennium Place, home of the youth centre.

There has also been more information released about public transportation, but it is still unclear how that will affect schools near Olympic venues.

With this in mind Jewett is inviting representatives from the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Community Services, and Whistler Blackcomb to take questions and talk about life in the community during the Olympic Games.

"While we have heard from various organizations that things will be in place we have had no specifics and there needs to be more concrete ideas for families about what is going to be happening," said Jewett.

This year Whistler has the largest Grade 8 class in its history, at 90 students. It is unclear what is available for these youths for the close to one month that the high school is closed.

"These are the things that we need to put our thinking caps on about," said Jewett.

"And parents might have some really interesting questions that might make us think of things we haven't thought of, and we still have time.

"We want this to be a great experience.

"Parents need a picture of what it is going to be like.

"Now that we understand what the school calendar looks like, and now that people have made plans about whether they are going to stay or going to go, we need to make sure that the families that are staying are provided for."

Meanwhile the space at the high school is still not rented out.

School district secretary treasurer Nancy Edwards said discussions are on going though no organizations have come forward with a reasonable financial offer yet.

"We have had a couple of requests come in but nothing with any significant money involved," she said.

Talks are also underway regarding how to keep the school secure at Games time if in fact the space is not rented.

"If we are able to rent then all is well and good. If we are not able to rent then we need to be looking at securing them," said Edwards.

"Hopefully we are not in that situation."

Edwards said the hand over to a rental client could be done with only a few weeks to go before the 2010 Games.



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