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All options for Olympic bid still open



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As for transportation, Calder said rail has not been eliminated as an option.

"A very hard look is being taken at rail," Calder said. "The availability of rolling stock, passenger cars, is going to be an issue, and improvements in the rail line right-of-way have yet to be determined."

There are sections of the B.C. Rail line which would have to be straightened, which may involve some tunnelling, if rail is to be part of the transportation solution. As well, some sections may have to be double-tracked to facilitate passenger and freight traffic.

Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said with Whistler adopting a set of principles to guide its participation in the bid, including adhering to its official community plan, "It allows the creative juices to flow, to see if we can make it happen.

"We’re not going to pre-determine the outcome, because we don’t know if we can do it. But I’m very pleased we’re doing this on our terms," O’Reilly said.

"Sometimes the message we send is as important as winning. We may send a message we can’t do it on our terms."

O’Reilly added he has grown lot more comfortable with the bid corporation board and their understanding of Whistler’s position.

"I’ve seen a big transition in the last year," he said.

Terry Wright, who has been hired as general manager of bid development, is one of the people O’Reilly has been impressed by. Wright held a similar position with the Commonwealth Games Victoria hosted in 1994.

Wright made a presentation to Whistler council Monday night, updating members on the bid, including the working groups which have been formed to deal with issues such as accommodation, security, mountain venues, the Callaghan Valley, the environment and the international sport centre. Each work group has local representation.

"We don’t underestimate these challenges," Wright said. "This community has a clear vision of where it wants to go… Solving these issues and keeping with the community plan is a big challenge. I look forward to it."

Wright also told council that a major announcement regarding corporate support will be made in March, and the bid corporation should have secured two-thirds of the funds it needs for the bid by that point.

Under revised timelines announced by the International Olympic Committee, an IOC questionnaire is now due in June of 2002, rather than December, 2001, and the bid book is now due in mid-January, 2003.

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