Pemberton looks at Olympic opportunities 

The little town with the country and western theme won’t be left in the dust when it comes to maximizing Olympic opportunities.

"There’s a concern in the community that unless we become proactive we’re going to end up with all of the negative aspects of the Olympics and none of the positives," said Don Coggins, chair of the Pemberton Valley Community Olympic Task Force.

This concern was the impetus for Monday’s public meeting hosted by the task force.

Though the turnout was fairly small, the ideas were big.

One idea in particular which struck a chord with Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner was ‘Pemberton on the Podium’, which would look at supporting young athletes in the community in realizing their goals of competing in the 2010 Olympics.

"The Olympics are going to be here in Whistler and if any one of our children gets close, whether it’s a member of a hockey team, ski team or whatever, wouldn’t it be wonderful?" said Warner.

"We could give every kid in Pemberton the dream that it’s possible."

She said there was also a suggestion of hosting a winter festival in Pemberton every year and in seven years time it would be an established event in town that Olympic visitors could participate in during the Games.

Maureen Douglas, community relations director for the 2010 Transition Team also attended the meeting but more as an interested citizen than in her capacity with the Games.

She said a number of ideas were bandied about at the Signal Hill Elementary School, like the chance for Pemberton to open its doors and take on a significant homestay role in the Games. Or the town could become an essential part of the volunteer component of 2010. Another idea was that perhaps Pemberton could adopt a sport or a team to help develop training facilities in Pemberton. It could be a sport like cross-country skiing where the local terrain lends itself to the sport and it could leave the town a lasting legacy.

"This just gives them a starting point to work from," said Douglas.

She said Pemberton is a unique position for these Games.

"They’re within the corridor of the Games," said Douglas in an earlier interview with Pique Newsmagazine .

"They will be actively involved.

"They definitely are so close to it that there’s opportunity there."

The chair of the meeting, Coggins, said there were some tremendous ideas in the community though only 25-30 people turned up.

"It’s not just community oriented," he added.

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