Letter to Editor 

RE: Olympic question, Pique April 20, 2001

The issues raised by Mr. Eaton in his recent letter to the editor - finance, transportation, benefits and support for the Bid - require a response.

The Bid is indeed fortunate to have received such strong financial and in-kind support from the public and private sector. In fact, we now have commitments in place for $17 million of our $23 million target - all this being achieved in 18 months.

Do we need $23 million to prepare a successful bid? Absolutely. The International Olympic Committee demands an incredible level of detail for all Games bids - Summer or Winter. Senior IOC representatives have stated on many occasions, "don't dazzle us with your dreams, impress us with your facts," and facts and detail cost money. Paris, by comparison, has invested $US52 million in its bid to host the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.

Mr. Eaton's suggestion that there will not be any highway improvements and convertible athlete housing is incorrect.

The Bid is not responsible for and will not be building a new highway - especially for a two-week event nine years from now. However, the many volunteers on our Vancouver, Sea to Sky Corridor and Whistler Transportation work groups are developing an overall Games transportation plan that may identify alternative forms of transportation and recommend improvements.

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways is responsible for highways throughout the province. The Bid could well be a catalyst to have financial commitments for such infrastructure improvements made now.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler has established guiding principles that both define the interests of Whistler and direct the Bid Corporation on how it will work with the resort and its residents. These principles are available at municipal hall and can be found on its Web site (www.whistler.com/rmow).

The Resort Municipality has stated on many occasions that the Bid will not be used as a reason to increase property taxes.

On the subject of surveying public opinion, the Bid Corporation retained Ipsos-Reid Group to conduct a province-wide poll in October 2000. The results showed 87 per cent supported Vancouver and Whistler hosting the Olympic Winter Games in 2010. In the host communities, support was 74 per cent in Whistler and 85 per cent in Vancouver.

Supporters in the host communities were also asked why they support the Bid. The top three responses: 51 per cent believe that hosting the Olympics would provide a positive boost for the local economy; 31 per cent said it would enhance Vancouver and Whistler's reputation world-wide; and 21 per cent said it would stimulate tourism.

In terms of information sources, today's edition of the Pique Newsmagazine carries the third instalment of a year-long series of columns addressing the Bid's plans and activities - and concerns of residents. Similar columns now appear in all other newspapers in the region, as well as regular weekend radio spots on Mountain FM Radio.

Our Web site (www.winter2010.com) has information on all aspects of the Bid and is updated on a regular basis with announcements, news and feature articles. The Bid's Whistler Community Office - located at 4333 Main Street - is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We also host a Fireside Chat on the last Tuesday of each month.

We will be part of a number of upcoming community-based events including the Sea to Sky Trade Fair in Squamish (May 26 and 27) and Whistler Discovery Days (June 2).

As you can see, there is much work to be done and much to be determined. And that's why our many volunteers - including Whistler representatives - in our 30 work groups are providing their time and expertise to develop all aspects of the Bid Corporation's plans. It involves sport technical experts, professionals, elected officials, First Nations, Whistler residents, consultants and Bid staff. And while we may not be able to deal with all questions today, we do have a process in place to provide the answers.

Preliminary concepts will be shared with Whistler residents later this fall at open houses and public meetings once plans have been more fully developed.

We encourage Mr. Eaton to avail himself of these various sources of information to update his knowledge of the Bid.

Don Calder

Chief Executive Officer

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