oly bid corp 

Establishing an office in Whistler will likely be one of the first steps the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation takes to open up dialogue on the Olympic bid. Don Calder, chief executive officer of the bid corporation, and to date the only employee of the corporation, appeared before Whistler council Monday to start that dialogue and to make clear that the process is just beginning. "We are definitely at the beginning of the bid process and we haven’t made any final decisions on where things are going to go," Calder said. A technical feasibility study was done last year, which included an athletes’ village at UBC and nordic events in the Callaghan Valley, but Calder indicated "some key decisions have yet to be made." "Vancouver-Whistler has to score 100 per cent on the technical issues, but clearly the winning factor is going to be community support for hosting the Olympics," Calder said. "If we don’t have community support and maintain Whistler’s values and goals, we won’t be successful." The International Olympic Committee will award the 2010 Winter Olympics in the fall of 2003, but a formal bid has to be submitted to the IOC by the fall of 2002. By that time all the transportation issues for the Vancouver-Whistler bid will have to be addressed — including government commitments to new transportation systems, although the systems themselves won’t necessarily have to be in place. "The Olympic bid is not the cause of transportation issues and it’s probably not the solution to transportation issues, but it may be a catalyst," Calder said. Councillor Nick Davies asked if transportation was perceived as the Achilles heel of the Vancouver-Whistler bid or whether it was an issue for all Olympic hosts. Calder replied that most host cities have to deal with transportation issues, including Sydney, which is hosting the 2000 Summer Games. Calder envisions a transportation solution that includes some sort of rapid transit from the Vancouver International Airport to downtown Vancouver and "an integrated solution in the Sea to Sky Corridor." That solution will probably include road, rail, bus and perhaps marine transportation, Calder suggested. He also pointed out planning issues, including growth in the corridor, will have to be addressed regardless of whether the Olympic bid is successful or not. The bid is estimated to cost between $20 million and $25 million, while capital costs for new facilities — including a speed skating oval, a bobsleigh/luge track and nordic facilities — is estimated at $240 million. Corporate sponsors are expected to play a major role in financing the Games. The other side of the ledger is an anticipated $1.5 billion boost to the regional economy. The broadcast rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics are currently held by NBC. A program called Legacies Now is also part of the Vancouver-Whistler bid. The program is designed to identify promising athletes who may represent Canada in the 2010 Games. An organization which set up the same type of program for summer athletes leading up to the Sydney Olympics has offered to help the Vancouver-Whistler group identify winter athletes.

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