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Art involved in whole picture Mayor says that plans for a cultural centre are tied up with all development in Whistler By Oona Woods Last November Anne Popma, former president of the Whistler Centre for Business and the Arts, presented council with the Whistler Cultural Facilities Study. At the time she recommended that work should immediately proceed with establishing multi-purpose cultural facilities. The report found three potential sites for a cultural facility: the five acre parcel on the Blackcomb Benchlands which was zoned for a cultural facility in the late 1970s, the conference centre and Lot 1 in Village North. Popma suggested that council take the report to a committee of local arts advisors, look at the options and return in six months with a plan to build a cultural facility. Six months later, Mayor Hugh O'Reilly says that rather than looking at Popma's suggestions divorced from the rest of Whistler's development, council is taking a more global approach. "We have a number of major capital projects in the works, not just (Popma's). We have grown it. We are looking at all the community facilities, the library, museum and a cultural theatre. We have to look at what other recreational and community facilities are needed. Instead of taking one issue off we have to make a bigger loop to encompass what the community needs and what we can provide." The municipality recently announced that a permanent library and museum have been designated the municipal Millennium Project. While there are no plans drawn up, the current thinking is that the library and museum will be included in the arena/cultural facility the municipality eventually builds on Lots 1 and 9 in Village North. Fund-raising for the municipal Millennium Project is not scheduled to start until 2000, with construction to start a year or two later.

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