Parking at Creekside is going to get very challenging long before the 2010 Olympic Games begin.
This week, Doug Forseth, Whistler blackcomb's senior vice president of operations, gave Pique a run down of the village and Creekside parking lot schedule during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Creekside appears to be the hardest hit.
The surface lot of the parkade will be out of commission from January 4 until March 27 while the first level of the parkade will be out of use for the entire season. The first level will be a secured area where the wax cabins will be built for all the ski teams.
The remaining parkade levels will be handed over the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC) at various times and nothing will be available from February 1 to March 21 as Creekside becomes a fully secured official venue for the Games.
That schedule is going to have a tremendous impact on the Creekside Market.
"It's going to be a huge loss for us," said owner Jerry Marsh, who has been building up his clientele for the past five years.
He said roughly 75 to 80 per cent of his customers rely on parking - they park their cars, go skiing, and then pop in for groceries at the end of their day.
"Parking is very much a part of our business," he said.
"If it was just the three weeks of Olympics that wouldn't be bad."
But losing a large part of the parking for January, February and March will be difficult, he said. "Those are our three busiest months."
Whistler Blackcomb (WB), which owns the Creekside parkade, understands full well the impact of losing parking, not only in Creekside but in the village too.
Forseth has been negotiating with VANOC these past years, stressing the message that parking is critical not only for WB but for most Whistler businesses
"We are working with VANOC to minimize the impact of the loss of parking," said Forseth this week.
It comes as no surprise that the day skier lots will be out of commission throughout the month of February 2010. Some lots will be out of commission longer than that.
This is the 2010 village parking lot schedule:
• Lots 1 and 2 will be turned over to VANOC for exclusive use February 1 to March 1.
• Lot 3 - half of the lot will be turned over to VANOC beginning January 15, and the remainder will be turned over February 1 to March 1.