Olympic bid corp. working on technical masterplan 

Facts and logistics, including transportation issues, are what the International Olympic committee wants to hear from the Vancouver-Whistler bid group.

Don Calder, chief executive officer of the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation was in Pemberton Monday, along with the corporation’s Ian Tait, to speak to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District about the status of the Winter Olympic bid.

He told the SLRD he expects one of the team’s greatest challenges will be resolving transportation issues.

Calder said he has recently returned from Sydney where he was told that "now is the time to impress us with your facts and not dazzle us with your dream." Calder said the corporation "will start working toward that now."

He outlined the timelines of the bid for SLRD directors. He said in two years time he hopes to see the Vancouver-Whistler bid on a shortlist in much the same way Toronto has just been shortlisted for the 2008 summer games.

A decision on the venue for the 2010 games will be made in 2003.

"We are now reviewing all the sports venues." Calder said he has asked SLRD manager of planning, Steve Olmstead, to look at the possibility of incorporating the bob sled facility and ski jumps in the Callaghan Valley, along with the nordic ski facilities.

Calder told the SLRD his team is now working toward a technical masterplan and looking at transportation and financial issues, including who will pay the bills for what.

He said there will still be plenty of opportunity for local input. The corporation will be hosting about 40 specialized working groups to examine various aspects of the bid. "There is lots of room for input."

Calder said if Toronto is successful in its attempt, it will "almost certainly" impact the Vancouver-Whistler initiative. He said it is highly unusual to have the same country hosting both the summer and winter games but it has happened once, in the United States where Los Angeles and Lake Placid hosted the summer and winter games in 1932.

"We would probably still proceed with a bid in some form," said Calder. He noted Switzerland, for example, is a perpetual bidder. "But the feasibility of continuing will have to be reviewed."

He said the scope of the Winter Games should not be confused with the summer events. It was noted that the Winter Games are about one-third smaller in size than the summer games and that 60 per cent of the load would be in the Vancouver area with the other 40 per cent in Whistler. The effect, he said, would be like a really busy winter weekend but for the full two-week period.

Whistler mayor and bid corporation board member, Hugh O’Reilly said the mountains would likely see a loss in revenue during that period because traditional skiing activity would be replaced by Olympic activity. This was the case in Nagano. O’Reilly said Salt Lake City, however, should provide a good case of example of what to expect.

Calder met with Mount Currie Chief Allan Stager the morning of the SLRD meeting. He said the group has already met with Whistler council and Vancouver city council and is due to meet with the Squamish and Lions Bay councils "to open the lines of communication."


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