If Whistler doesnt want the Paralympic ice arena in town, there are plenty of other corridor communities clamouring for the chance to have it.
That much was apparent at Mondays regional district meeting when the directors representing Pemberton and Area C asked the board to support them in their efforts to get the facility in Pemberton, should Whistler decide not to build it in the resort.
That request brought forward more requests, from the directors representing Squamish and Lillooet, who would also like to be considered as potential locations for the Paralympic ice arena.
"What were hearing from our residents is the question: wheres our Olympic legacy?" said Area C Director Susan Gimse after the six-hour Squamish-Lillooet Regional District meeting. "So its an opportunity for us and were going to take advantage of it, if we can."
Though he supported their request to send a letter of intent to the Vancouver Organizing Committee, Whistlers Mayor Hugh OReilly said the boards discussion was a bit premature. Whistler has not decided whether it will put the ice arena here or not.
"Were still in the game, theres no doubt about it," he said, after the meeting. "If its appropriate for us, yeah, sure were going to take it. That was what we negotiated. But if theres something better, and theres something put together, then well have to look at that too."
The deadline for Whistlers decision is looming. By the end of July/early August council must decide if it will leverage the $20 million from VANOC to build what is described in the Olympic Bid Book as the Whistler Entertainment Complex/Multipurpose Facility. That venue is slated to be the venue for Ice Sledge Hockey during the Paralympic Games.
The Bid Book points to Lot 1/Lot 9, the partially-forested, municipally-owned land behind the Brew Pub, as the location for the facility.
The municipality has also been looking at two other sites. They include the possibility of twinning the Meadow Park facility or building it in the south end of Whistler near the athletes village.
OReilly said theres no question Whistler can build the facility, even with soaring constructions costs and the added costs of building on poor soil.
"(The sites) all come with the same set of challenges," he said. "Soils are all terrible everywhere, thats the bottom line. So that makes stuff really expensive."
But the cost is not the sticking point he said.
"The key issue is not can we afford to build it," he explained. "Yes, we could probably afford to build what we need to do with it. (The issue is) who can utilize the facility the very best? And whos going to have the best legacy in the next 20 to 30 years "