Pique n' your interest 

What about the bid?

I have no doubt that the coalition of governments, sport agencies, corporations and civic boosters that brought us the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games have the best of intentions. And I have no doubt that the same Olympic proponents will try their level best to bring those best intentions to life over the next four and a half years.

But sooner or later reality always sets in, whether it’s rising construction costs, differing opinions on the definition of sustainability, or questions over the long-term viability of various promised facilities.

The bottom line is that the Games we get in 2010 will likely be somewhat different than the Games we were guaranteed in the bid book in 2002.

While understandable – it’s mostly public money at stake, and organizers have bigger obligations to taxpayers – changing anything that was spelled out in black and white in the official bid book is bound to create some ill will.

Such as the recent announcement that the Paralympic sledge hockey arena destined for Whistler might be relocated to Squamish instead.

While there are a lot of compelling reasons why this is a good idea – Whistler isn’t straddled with an estimated $20 million in capital costs or ongoing operational costs, Squamish gets more involved in the Games, a Junior A hockey team might come to the corridor, and Whistler could be compensated with another ice surface and expanded athlete centre – there are also a lot of good reasons why it is not.

One reason comes from the Canadian Paralympic Committee, who helped to sell the Games to the world by offering one of the most convenient and compact Paralympics in history. Some International Olympic Committee members may even have factored that into their decision when they voted to bring the Games to Vancouver.

Some people in Whistler might have based their support of the Games on that facility, and what a multiplex could mean for local sports and tourism.

During the bid process, sports organizations in town were approached by the 2010 Bid Corporation and asked what kind of facility legacy they would like to see in Whistler. The proposed multiplex, which would most likely be built in the North Village beside the Marketplace, would house a number of these legacies.

While those groups still might get those facilities through an expanded athlete centre, which will be inconveniently located opposite Function Junction in the athletes village, they still have no guarantees either way.

Businesses that were counting on a large arena in the village to offer recreation for residents and visitors, as well as serve as a kind of convention and conference centre, are no doubt feeling a little betrayed.

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