Olympic bid corp. half way to fund-raising goal 

The Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation is half way to securing the $20 million needed to fund its bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Bid Corporation executive officer Don Calder made the announcement Thursday, Aug. 7 at the hangar of Richmond-based Helijet International. Helijet was one of eight new corporate partners introduced.

"We now have over $7.5 million in corporate support, plus $2.5 million in direct support recently announced by the Province of British Columbia," said Calder. "With over $10 million in place, we are halfway towards our fund-raising goal of $20 million."

In addition to Helijet International, the new corporate supporters include Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, BC Gas, the Vancouver International Airport Authority, Tourism Vancouver, Tourism British Columbia and the provincial Crown corporations ICBC and B.C. Hydro. In March Telus was announced as the premier founding supporter of the bid.

The $2.5 million announced by the provincial government in June is to go to the Legacies Now program, which will support young B.C. athletes over the next four years. Tourism Minister Ian Waddell said that Legacies Now will benefit athletes from introductory level to Olympic level and will include training programs for both summer and winter sports, regional centres of sports excellence in Vancouver, Victoria, Abbotsford, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Prince George, plus a chance to bring international competitions to the province prior to 2010. Waddell called it a legacy that will be left regardless of whether or not the Vancouver-Whistler bid is successful.

The remaining $10 million required to fund the bid is expected to come from other corporate and government supporters. This fall will see the launch of a "Friends of the Bid" donation program. Angus Reid Group, Burrard International, Great Canadian Railtour Company, Logicorp, Pacific Liaicon and Associates, Patrick O‚Callaghan and Associates and Ray and Berndtson/Tanton Mitchell have already become "Friends" by making contributions to the Bid Corporation.

Calder said approximately 30 work groups, made up of experienced volunteer and paid professionals, will begin work in the next few months on preparation of the documentation required for the bid. Extensive studies will be made of existing and planned facilities; technical specifications for each sport; and a wide range of other areas that are considered critical the bid, including transportation.

The bid plan is for the ice events – hockey, figure skating, speed skating and curling – to take place in Vancouver. Whistler would host the skiing and snowboarding events. The luge and bobsled events could also be held in the Callaghan Valley west of Whistler, where the nordic skiing facilities are planned.

Whistler council will host a community forum on the 2010 bid on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in the conference centre. The forum is intended to solicit public input on the guiding principles the municipality has drafted for its participation in the bid.

The Vancouver-Whistler bid corp. has agreed to keep a low profile until the fate of Toronto’s bid to host the 2008 Summer Games is decided. Toronto was short-listed, along with Beijing, Osaka, Paris and Istanbul, by the International Olympic Committee last month. The IOC will chose a host for the 2008 Olympics next summer.

The Vancouver-Whistler bid is expected to vie for the 2010 Games with Sarajevo, Helsinki, Korea and possibly Japan. Chur, a major city in Switzerland near Zurich, is considering a bid for 2010, as is Munich-Garmisch.

Member partners of the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation are the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Canadian Olympic Association.

Whistler representatives on the bid corporation board are Mayor Hugh O’Reilly, municipal administrator Jim Godfrey, Tourism Whistler President Suzanne Denbak, Senior Vice-president of Whistler-Blackcomb Doug Forseth, and former Olympian Steve Podborski.

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