Most people realize the 2010 Winter Olympics could make Whistler the centre of world attention for a two-week period nine years down the road, but many have questioned what the town will have to put up with to host the Games.
Terry Wright, general manager of bid development for the Vancouver Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation, didnt provide all the answers during the third in a series of fireside chats Tuesday, but he did provide some context and details about the philosophy behind the bid and the direction its going. Unfortunately fewer than a dozen members of the general public were at the Whistler Mountain Ski Club cabin to hear him speak.
"We work from the premise that, win or lose you want to be sure you leave a legacy," Wright said of the bid corporation. The shape and form of that legacy was the focus of Wrights remarks.
Wright has been in the event business for nearly 20 years, starting with Expo 86 where he survived Jimmy Pattisons early purge of managers and was in fact promoted by Pattison. He went on to be involved in Expo 88 in Australia and has since worked with organizing committees for several Commonwealth Games, Pan-Am Games, last summers Olympics in Sydney and this summers World Track and Field Championships in Edmonton. In his current position with the Vancouver Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation his job is to pull together the bid book, which must be submitted to the International Olympic Committee by June 2002.
Wright said virtually every project hes worked on has left a housing legacy. The Games provide leverage opportunities for housing and other community amenities, and he used Victorias Commonwealth Games and the Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg as examples. In Victoria an athletes village was built that became student housing for the University of Victoria after the Games. Camosun College in Victoria was about to buy 400 computers at about the same time the Games organizing committee needed 600 computers. A deal was struck where the organizers used the computers for the Games and then turned all 600 over to the college when they were done.
When Winnipeg hosted the Pan-Am Games it wasnt housing that was needed but a nursing school. The organizing committee and provincial governments got together and built a nursing school, which was used as accommodation during the Games.
When it was pointed out that Whistler needs employee housing now, not in 2010, Wright suggested that the housing might be aimed at teachers, police officers and middle managers people who probably couldnt afford to move to Whistler in nine years, but whose services will still be required.