Olympic Game Plan answers some questions 

Transportation, security issues top of mind at Whistler meeting

 

Whistler residents in neighbourhoods close to Olympic venues will have to get a permit for their car at Games time.

And residents will also have to get a permit to drive the Sea to Sky Highway.

The systems, though still works in progress, were outlined Wednesday night at a Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee Game Plan meeting, which drew over 300 people.

The meetings, including one in Pemberton tonight, are designed to bring Olympic communities up to date with plans and preparations as the Games draw nearer.

"We wanted to make sure that the transportation worked around the venues," Bill Barratt, the Resort Municipality of Whistler's Chief Administrative Officer told the audience.

"We want to make sure that our residents and guests have easy access to their hotels and home.

"You will be able to get around. There are only a few areas that will be permitted and on the whole we believe it will decrease transit congestion."

The permits will be mailed out using the tax roll for addresses. There will also be an office at municipal hall to deal with anyone who needs a permit but is not on the tax roll. Each household will get two fully transferable permits.

While most in the audience left with a better understanding of what it will be like to live with virtually no public parking, 55,000 daily guests, thousands of media looking for a story, thousands of security officials, a restricted highway and road system, some still had questions.

Can bars and restaurants stay open longer? Will people be able to protest? Will taxis and limousines face long delays in driving from the resort to the airport and back? How will Olympic organizers deal with an outbreak of H1N1 flu, and how will residents get around with parking all but non existent?

"We want these questions and we want to answer them," VANOC spokeswoman Maureen Douglas told the crowd.

Said taxi driver Edna Laffey following the 2.5 hour meeting: "I wonder if it is going to be difficult to get our clients to their hotels with all the blocked off streets, and no-go zones."

"It is a little unsettling not knowing how this is going to be."
Resident Leslie Byford, needed to confirm that she would be able to get a family member with a disability around town and to events.

"And I wanted to know about the highway," she said.

"The misconception that we were not going to be able to use the highway, well they officially blew that idea out of the water."

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