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November is often the best month of the year to get out of Whistler, lying as it does in the grey days between early fall and early ski season. But this November staying close to home may reveal how we will get out of, in to and around Whistler in the future. For starters, a draft of Whistler’s transportation master plan — a project that was started two and a half years ago under the previous council — will be the subject of a workshop at this year’s town hall meeting, on Nov. 7. The significance of the transportation plan and the impact roads, transit, parking and demand management issues will have on Whistler and the quality of life in this town is far greater than any employee housing project or pension inserted into a neighbourhood. With luck the transportation plan will generate as much interest. The second event of the month which may have an impact on transportation is the Canadian Olympic Association’s decision Nov. 21 on who will carry the Canadian bid to the International Olympic Committee for the right to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. Proponents of the Games have talked about the transportation legacy that would be part of a successful bid. But although the comprehensive transportation infrastructure plan proposed by Arthur Erickson and David Lange has the support of some members of the Vancouver-Whistler Bid Society, and is endorsed by West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast MP John Reynolds and West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA Ted Nebbeling, it is not officially part of the bid. Indeed, Bruce MacMillan of the bid society told Whistler council Monday the Games could go ahead with the existing transportation infrastructure, if necessary. What the Games would be is a catalyst for major improvements to the region’s transportation systems. The NDP government has said it would contribute to the Olympic effort in the form of transportation infrastructure and particularly likes what those types of projects would do for job creation. The NDP caucus is believed to be working on an infrastructure plan as part of its "what do we do about the economy" strategy session this week in Campbell River. The Liberals are apparently keen on the Erickson/Lange plan and Reform MP Reynolds has been involved with the plan’s development. Bullet trains are not part of anyone’s plans, although some sort of improved passenger rail service could be incorporated and is what Whistler council members are seeking. Regardless of whether the Olympic bid is successful or not, a transportation plan for the Lower Mainland which links the region to the Interior of the province is needed. With the federal government apparently considering another infrastructure cost sharing program the timing may be right. If Vancouver-Whistler wins the right to be Canada’s official bid for the 2010 Games that may be the catalyst needed to get the whole thing off the ground. If not, it may be just another dreary November.

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