olympic bid 

There was pomp and ceremony as members of the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Society marched into BC Place Stadium Monday morning like it was the opening of the Olympic Games, but there wasn’t much new in what they had to say. The press conference was called to formally announce the facilities and venues that are part of the Vancouver-Whistler Olympic bid, but as bid society members acknowledged Tuesday, it was also intended to raise the profile of the bid in the Lower Mainland. "People in Whistler are probably more aware, generally, (of the Olympic bid) than people in Vancouver," Craig MacKenzie, a member of the bid society board of directors, said this week. "We’ve got to get awareness up in Vancouver," MacKenzie said, "but at the end of the day there’s only 78 people who vote. We have to be careful we don’t get two and half million people hyped and forget who votes." The Vancouver-Whistler official bid book will be submitted to the 78 voting members of the Canadian Olympic Association in mid-October. On Nov. 21 the members will decide which of the Canadian bids — Vancouver-Whistler, Calgary or Quebec City — will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee as a candidate to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. The IOC will award the 2010 Games in 2003. "It went really well," MacKenzie said of Monday’s press conference. "The province is very strongly in favour of the bid and is starting to catch the fever." MacKenzie said while Monday’s press conference was aimed at the Lower Mainland media, a town hall meeting and presentation open to the public is planned for Whistler in the next few weeks. The only change in venues or facilities announced Monday was moving a curling rink from Surrey to the UBC campus. MacKenzie said COA members who inspected the proposed facilities last month raised some concerns about the travel time from the main athletes’ village at UBC to Surrey. As far as Whistler is concerned, facilities are in place on Whistler and Blackcomb for freestyle, snowboard and alpine skiing events, although a new women’s downhill and super G course is proposed for Whistler Mountain. The Delta Whistler Resort and the Westin Hotel, currently under construction, are the two hotels proposed as the athletes’ village in Whistler. The nordic events, which are proposed for the Alexander Falls/North Air Mines area in the Callaghan Valley, will require the biggest investment: $78 million. Facilities required include three nordic jumps and a jumping stadium capable of holding 40,000 spectators, cross-country and biathlon facilities and a stadium capable of seating 30,000 spectators. Following the Games the area would be reclaimed for recreational use, including the training centres for mountain biking and triathlon in summer. The main components of the $78 million would be building a proper highway into the site, a lodge, the jumps and the stadiums. The nordic jumps built for the 1988 Calgary Olympics cost $28 million.

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