Games strategy drawn up 

Whistler's roles, responsibilities clarified

By Alison Taylor

An overarching framework to deal with the challenges and opportunities of the 2010 Games has been drafted by Whistler’s Games office.

Jim Godfrey, Whistler’s executive director for the Games, presented the 80-page “strategic framework” at Monday’s council meeting.

He stressed that it is not an operational plan, nor a budget. Instead it outlines 11 strategic objectives for Whistler in regard to the 2010 Olympics and how and who will help the resort community achieve them.

What the framework reveals is that Whistler has a tremendous amount of planning to do in the next three years to get ready for the Games.

“To make the most of this opportunity, Whistler must be prepared and must approach its preparations strategically,” states the framework.

One of 11 objectives outlined in the framework is maximizing business success. The Whistler Chamber of Commerce will be the lead agency in this initiative through the Business Readiness Committee.

One of the major things the chamber is responsible for is a business opportunities guide, due to be released in summer 2007. That guide will let local businesses know how to get involved and take advantage of opportunities from the Games. Things are already being done, such as procurement workshops, but the guide will formalize the opportunities.

“Every industry has the possibility of participating in some way and so we have to really make sure that we do our best to communicate to our business community all the opportunities that are available as we know about them and as we create them,” said chamber president Louise Lundy.

Another major initiative the chamber is working on is looking at the space requirements in the village — what will be needed by Olympic organizers for operations, what will be needed by the Olympic family, what will be needed by Olympic sponsors, and what will be left over. It is crucial that Whistler doesn’t destroy its special authentic visitor experience.

Lundy said local businesses have already been approached for their space.

“We’re really asking businesses to hold off and not make those kind of decisions until we are a little bit ready to take those inventories and really understand the picture,” she said.

“Having a unified strategy is definitely going to be a much smarter plan for the town overall and for the long-term.”

Other responsibilities the chamber will take on are a test event opportunities plan, a village vendor plan and a plan for business to support Canadian athletes.

Another objective in the framework is capitalizing on tourism opportunities, in which Tourism Whistler will take a lead role. There are several key deliverables highlighted in the framework and several plans on the workbook in the years to come.

That’s not to say that Tourism Whistler hasn’t already been planning for 2010, said Michele Comeau-Thompson, Tourism Whistler’s director of communications

“This will really start to formalize some of the areas that we’ve already worked on but also formalize the areas that really haven’t been planned at all yet,” she said.

“There’s just so much to consider and it has to be very, very organized.”

The list of things Tourism Whistler is responsible for includes: a plan for positioning Whistler as the 2010 Host Mountain Resort, a marketing plan capitalizing on its role as Host Mountain Resort, a plan that maximizes positive exposure of Whistler through accredited and non-accredited media, a visitor services plan and a plan that maximizes tourism opportunities.

The board of directors has added 2010 as a key focus area for the upcoming year, she said.

“We’re in the process of finalizing our 2007 business plan,” said Comeau-Thompson. “Through that process, combined with looking at the framework, we’re identifying roles, responsibilities, timelines and the budgets required for any of these plans as well as the execution of the plans.”

Other strategic objectives include:

• enhancing arts, culture and heritage,

• community participation,

• volunteerism and community pride, and

• delivery of municipal services.

It is not a static document and will evolve over time, said Godfrey.

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