Olympic panel discussion a possibility 

A panel of representatives from Salt Lake City, Nagano and Lillehammer may be invited to Whistler to share their experiences with hosting the Winter Olympics.

Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said such a panel hasn’t been organized but it might be part of a future town hall-style meeting on the Vancouver-Whistler bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

O’Reilly said more than 30 people participated in a Sept. 20 discussion of the bid at the Whistler Conference Centre. The meeting was organized by Whistler, rather than the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation, and saw council members facilitate round-table discussion groups.

Whistler has drafted a set of principles to guide its participation in the bid process and the meeting was intended to receive feedback on the draft principles.

O’Reilly said there were "some new faces" at the meeting but as of earlier this week he hadn’t reviewed the comment cards to determine what people thought of the guiding principles.

"There was some information presented on the size and scope of the Winter Games which are much smaller than the Summer Games," O’Reilly said. He added that the ice events planned for Vancouver would draw 60 per cent of the spectators, while the skiing events planned for the Whistler and Callaghan Valley areas would attract 40 per cent of the spectators.

"There are lots of issues; we want to focus on the real ones, not the fictitious ones," O’Reilly said.

A committee composed of municipal staff, representatives from the bid corporation, nordic skiing and other groups has been evaluating sites and examining issues in the Callaghan Valley for the past several months. O’Reilly said Whistler identified the Callaghan as a major issue some time agao.

Meanwhile, BCTV will be airing a series of stories on the 2010 Olympic bid next week. Among the people interviewed by BCTV for the series were O’Reilly, Tourism Whistler president Suzanne Denbak, Bob Du Four of Whistler-Blackcomb and bid corporation chief executive officer Don Calder. The stories are expected to focus on issues and concerns surrounding the Whistler portion of the bid, including transportation, growth and development in the Callaghan Valley.

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