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Changing of the guard

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The Charter was ready last January as expected said Nebbeling but many special interests groups, including business, wanted to have a good look at the draft paper.

"The Charter was ready well before the introduction but it had to have that vetting process and I thought that was very responsible because all parts of our communities and economy had a look at it," said Nebbeling.

"I felt it was really responsible to have a period where they could look at the final draft and make comments, and that took time.

"I responded to quite a number of issues where there were concerns and made some adjustments, but at the same time there were also changes that had to be made."

Nebbeling is proud of the work the government and many others did in bringing the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to Whistler and Vancouver.

"I think being part of that, as the minister responsible for the bid, was an extremely important goal for me to achieve," he said.

Now he is looking forward to perhaps getting involved as a private citizen, volunteering for the Games in the town he has called home since he came here with Holmberg in 1977.

This week's cabinet shuffle moved responsibility for the Games to the Ministry of Small Business and Economic Development. Heading up that ministry is John Les, who was first elected MLA for Chilliwack-Sumas in the 2001 provincial general election.

Before his election Les was mayor of Chilliwack for 13 years.

One of the most important skills he brings with him to this portfolio, said Les, is his strong background in spearheading public-private partnerships, likely the main building block for infrastructure development for the Games.

"While I was in municipal politics I was a major proponent of public-private partnerships," he said.

"We promoted those with some significant success in and around the Chilliwack and Fraser Valley generally and I think we developed a reputation that public-private partnerships were done and done well."

Projects included road works and the development of civic facilities such as swimming pools, ice arenas, and fire halls.

"The Olympics to me is another tremendous opportunity to be involved with the private sector in partnerships. with each bringing its strengths to the table and in so doing offering a tremendous economic opportunity for various communities around the province," said Les.

"The Olympics is not about 17 days it is about 17 years. It is an extended opportunity for B.C. to thrive economically. It is like putting the whole province on the booster pad for launching into a future we can only dream about.

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