olympic bid 

Whistler residents and second homeowners can expect to be surveyed in the next few weeks regarding the proposal to bring the 2010 Winter Olympics to Vancouver and Whistler. The private bid for the Games is being spearheaded by former Vancouver Canucks and Grizzlies owner Arthur Griffiths and Tourism Vancouver’s Rick Antonson. Presentations were made to some Whistler politicians and key business people prior to Christmas. A presentation was made to Premier Glen Clark on Monday and Vancouver city council listened to the proposal this week. A decision to seek the Canadian nomination for the 2010 Games must be made by March 6. "We’re trying to look at the possibilities and the logistics right now," Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said Monday. "We’re encouraged by what we’ve seen so far." O’Reilly says the people promoting the bid have been talking to key business people first to see if there’s support for the idea. Now they are beginning to talk to politicians and the public. "They’re trying not to step on any toes and to follow protocol," O’Reilly said. Clark made it clear he supports the bid, but added the province wouldn’t be a major financial contributor to the effort. Some reports have estimated the cost of staging the Games at $800 million, with federal and provincial contributions not expected to be more than $100 million. It’s estimated the cost to bid for the Canadian Olympic Association’s approval will be $750,000. Calgary and Quebec City will likely also seek the Canadian nomination. Clark has pledged $50,000 towards this first step. The cost of bidding for the International Olympic Committee’s approval is estimated at $15 million. Details of what — if any — events other than skiing and snowboarding would be held in Whistler and what facilities would be required have not been addressed. "We’d be looking for some sort of legacy to be left behind," O’Reilly said. He suggested transportation — such as a high-speed rail line between Vancouver and Whistler — housing and a fibre optics communications network might be some of the possibilities. An athletes village for 800-1,000 athletes would be required in Whistler. The facility could be converted to some other use after the Olympics. O’Reilly said he had a discussion with Myles Rademan, the Park City-based resort consultant who spoke at last month’s town hall meeting, about the opportunities associated with hosting the Olympics. O’Reilly said Rademan’s message was if the opportunity arises, take it. Park City will host the ski and snowboard events at the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were officially awarded to Salt Lake City.


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