Whistler to form Spirit of 2010 Committee 

Committee to co-ordinate non-profit groups, Olympic legacies from Winter Games

A Spirit of 2010 Committee will likely be formed in Whistler to co-ordinate the delivery of Olympic benefits, legacies and facilities.

On Monday a representative from 2010 LegaciesNow hosted an information session for non-profit organizations in Whistler.

The Community Foundation of Whistler, which provides funding for dozens of non-profit groups in the Sea to Sky corridor, helped to co-ordinate the event. According to Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, CFOW president, the response was overwhelming.

"We had a huge turnout from the non-profits, 54 different representatives, which was more than we were expecting," she said. "The overwhelming consensus of the group was that Whistler should form a Spirit of 2010 Committee, and that all the committees from the corridor should probably meet every six months or so because there are a lot of issues in common to communities."

Gordon Goodman, the representative from LegaciesNow, explained what other communities are doing around the province, and suggested how community non-profits can get involved.

Pemberton already has a Spirit of 2010 committee, and Squamish is looking into the possibility.

"It was interesting, Gordon didn’t think we needed (a committee) here by virtue of the fact that we’re one of the host cities, but the group thought, and quite strongly, that we do need one," said Wilhelm-Morden. "We can’t just be sitting around waiting for these things to drop from the heavens like manna, because it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. We should be more proactive than that."

A Spirit of 2010 Committee would represent non-profit groups from the community, including sports organizations, arts organizations, social services and more, presenting a united front for the community when it comes to Olympic legacies.

Rather than apply for legacies and funding for projects separately, groups would use the committee to make use of Olympic resources.

"For example, the Arts Council, if they want to apply for LegaciesNow funding for a particular thing, they would let the Spirit of 2010 Committee know so that all members are aware… and maybe there’s an opportunity for a sport group or educational group to partner with the Arts Council to expand the opportunity."

The committee could also apply for funding for Spirit of 2010 initiatives that would benefit the whole community.

"So much is still unknown about what these opportunities might be, but when that becomes more clear we need to be organized enough to make the most of every opportunity we get," said Wilhelm-Morden.

Local groups were unanimously interested in facilities. While many have indicated in past surveys that they would be interested in being part of various Olympic facilities, like the proposed sledge hockey arena, there has been no follow-up. The committee would represent local groups when it comes to giving input on where and how those facilities will be built, while pooling local resources.

Another responsibility for the committee would be to help manage Whistler’s pool of volunteers so non-profits are not overwhelmed by the Games.

"One thing we heard was that in Atlanta, months before their Games, the equivalent of Meals on Wheels wasn’t able to operate because all of their volunteers… had moved over to volunteer for the Summer Games," said Wilhelm-Morden. "That’s the kind of the thing the Spirit of 2010 Committee would look at and plan for and co-ordinate."

Following Monday’s meeting, all of the participants asked the CFOW to compile the minutes for the meeting and draw up a Terms of Reference under which the proposed committee would operate, which they would submit to 2010 LegaciesNow for approval.

No timeline has been set for establishing the committee, but the CFOW is hoping to start the process as soon as possible.

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