Resort prepares for meeting of G8 foreign ministers 

Officials expect it to be peaceful but intense security will be evident

Whistler will host eight of the world’s top foreign ministers next week as they meet in advance of the G8 Summit in Alberta to discuss counter-terrorism and other issues.

The meeting, to be held June 12 and 13 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, is expected to draw protesters, but at this point it is expected to be peaceful.

There will be security checks to enter the hotel, which will be considered a secure environment.

But according to Chateau spokeswoman Sonja Hwang: "We expect everything to be just fine.

"We haven’t heard of anything yet that would be a concern and we have full trust in the RCMP."

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly is hoping that the peaceful experience of recent meetings, such as the gathering of G8 environment ministers in Alberta, is repeated here.

"The perfect scenario would be that I never knew it was here and it left," he said.

"If there is no disturbance and it runs smoothly then that is perfect, that is exactly what we hope happens.

"From what I have been hearing we are OK, but that is something (security officials) keep a very close tab on and I haven’t been given any indication that there is a heightened level at this point."

Scores of police officers from the Lower Mainland are expected early next week to join Whistler’s RCMP officers to ensure the resort stays problem free.

The Chateau will be the focus for security and barricades will be used to funnel pedestrian traffic in and around the hotel.

Shops and services in the area will be open for business, although access may be monitored.

Kaoru Nakahama of Senka Florist had thought about closing her outlet on the ground floor of the Chateau.

"We thought it might be easier to escape and not be involved," she said from her main shop in Nesters Square.

"But possibly there may be higher expectations because the hotel is full."

There are other guests staying at the hotel, which is almost fully booked, said Nakahama. So they might be busier than they would normally be at this time of the year.

According to RCMP spokesman Sgt. Grant Learned the security will be focused on the Upper Village.

"There may be some restrictions on how you are going to gain access in and around those areas because we have to balance our security obligations with the ability of other people to carry out their business," he said.

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