Municipal hall eyes blanket Olympic bylaw 

Temporary legislation would allow Whistler to ‘fulfill its functions’ during the Games

Municipal staff are combing through a list of Whistler bylaws to develop a blanket, all-inclusive bylaw that would govern everything from street use to cleaning operations during the Winter Games in 2010.

Appropriately dubbed the “Master Games-time bylaw”, the bylaw proposal was outlined to council last week during an Olympic planning update, although no concrete information on the bylaw was given in the report.

Jim Godfrey, executive director for the 2010 Winter Games, explained this week that such bylaws are common for host cities to enact, adding that municipal staff are using Salt Lake City’s 2002 bylaw as a model.

“We actually have a copy of the bylaw that was put in place in Salt Lake City, and the American system is significantly different… but the same sorts of issues that apply, like street issues, noise issues, and sign issues,” said Godfrey.

He added: “It (the bylaw) would allow us to fulfill our functions during the Games period, as well as to protect the public interest.”

Specifically, the catchall legislation would cover street use, traffic, prohibitions, signage, brand protection, noise, cleaning operations and street vending in Whistler over the Games period.

Godfrey said municipal staff, together with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games (VANOC), is taking a close look at Whistler’s current bylaws to see what changes would be appropriate.

“We might actually have all the powers within our existing bylaws, so that is why we are taking a look at our requirements for reviewing bylaws and determining if something has to change,” he said.

Whistler is not the only municipality in British Columbia currently looking at enacting Olympic bylaws. The cities of Vancouver and Richmond are also reviewing their bylaws.

According to Godfrey, all three jurisdictions will be working together over the next year to hammer out legislation.

He added that the Master Game-times bylaw would be temporary, in effect only during a limited time period.

“The intent is it would be a temporary bylaw, so it would be a bylaw that would be time activated,” said Godfrey, although he was not able to specify what time period the bylaw would encompass.

The bylaw should be complete by the beginning of 2009.

To further explore Olympic issues, 10 representatives from the Resort Municipality of Whistler — including Godfrey — met this week with VANOC at a two-day Government Partners Conference.

Moreover, in the Olympic update to council last week, staff wrote that additional liquor licenses during February and March 2010 will likely be available.

This was the result of a meeting among RMOW staff, representatives from the cities of Richmond and Vancouver, VANOC and the Provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Board, where liquor licensing and distribution policies and procedures during the Games were analyzed.

According to the report, more details on liquor licenses will be available within the year.

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