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Furlong preparing for Vancouver plebiscite on Games

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The International Olympic Committee, responsible for choosing the winning candidate city, is also keeping an eye on the vote.

Recently Gerhard Heiberg, the head of the IOC’s evaluation commission, said while a no vote on the non-binding plebiscite wouldn’t kill Vancouver and Whistler’s chances it wouldn’t look good.

It would be pretty hard to award the Games to a city unless most of the population actually wanted them, said Heiberg.

The evaluation commission will be visiting Vancouver and Whistler from March 2 through the 5.

Furlong is planning on staying close to home for the next several weeks as the bid corp. works hard to get a positive result in the plebiscite.

Between now and Feb. 20 the bid corp. plans to hold seven information open houses in Vancouver.

"I think the IOC will watch this carefully and they will evaluate it," said Furlong.

"They will still do their own poll and they will judge it.

"I think most of the IOC members that I know just expect us to come through this. I think they feel that we have a pretty good bid and we have a good chance and I think a lot of them hope we will get through it."

The plebiscite will not only affect Vancouver and the bid. The results will also affect other communities involved with the bid, including the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

"This is the thing that I hope Vancouver will come to realize over the next few weeks," said Furlong.

"It is a partner with many others like the community of Whistler, which has contributed an enormously positive spin to this bid.

"…We will all own the result and so I think it is important for us all to care and do what we can to get the best result we can."

This week CBC hosted an information program on the Games and Furlong and several other stakeholders took part, including Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly and Van Powel, one of the founders of a local information Web site on the 2010 Games ( www.whistlerolympicinfo.com) .

During the program The No 2010 Games Coalition’s Dr. Chris Shaw called into question the reliability of the Auditor General’s report on the cost of the Games.

Furlong was surprised.

"We agreed at one point that the Auditor General would be the person who would ultimately settle it for people and he did and he settled it very clearly and so for Dr.Shaw to bring the Auditor General into disrepute was really a very unfortunate thing," said Furlong.