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“And therefore there’s a positive experience by those groups coming in and saying ‘we got a fair and equitable deal, we got value for the money that we spent up in Whistler’ and they’re more inclined to bring those groups back,” said Fenton.
Creating that positive experience is critical to Whistler’s long-term success said Mayor Ken Melamed, and he urged businesses to take that long-term view.
“We want the perception and the news stories around Whistler to be that of a gracious host community,” said the mayor.
He pointed to Whistler’s prices in 2000. Ultimately there was a market push back on those prices and the customer was no longer willing to pay. It’s taken the last five years to re-brand the resort as a place where guests can get good value for money.
Like businesses, the municipality is also feeling the interest first hand from groups looking to rent space. The mayor confirmed there have been inquiries about Millennium Place, the library and the Whistler Golf Club.
He has met with three different countries who are looking for a national house presence.
To them all he is urging patience as Whistler works to develop this process.
Fenton said other Olympic-related groups looking for space are the national Olympic committees, the national sports organizations and their sponsors and the national and worldwide sponsors.
She could not say how much space all those groups will need in Whistler.
Of particular concern are the food and beverage locations in the resort. It is not clear how many seats will be needed to fulfill the requirements of the Olympic time period. The worry is if those restaurants are rented out and not available for public use during the Games, there won’t be enough places for people to grab a bite to eat.
Behind the Grind owner Chris Quinlan has no intention of leasing his café space in the heart of the village.
“It goes against everything I believe in,” he said.
He expects to be working around the clock through February 2010.
Lundy said five to six business owners have signed up with the chamber already, willing to rent their space to Olympic clients.
“We’re here to help,” she said. “We want you to take advantage of opportunities if they’re coming. One of our objectives is to help businesses achieve success.”