After months of discussions the German National Olympic Committee has decided to set up its base of operations in Vancouver, not Whistler, during the 2010 Olympics.
According to municipal spokeswoman Michele Comeau the deciding factors were the high price of accommodation and the lack of rooms at full-service hotels.
The municipality has also abandoned the idea of creating a Neighbourhood of Nations. While countries were interested, said Comeau, the cost in a period of economic uncertainty and the lack of accommodation for the staff needed to manage the facilities scuttled the idea in the end.
“There was a lot of interest in the concept, and having a presence in Whistler was also something that was very desirable, but ultimately there was not enough interest from enough countries for the Neighbourhood of Nations concept to move forward,” she said.
“A country may have been very interested in building a nation house as part of the neighbourhood concept but they were not able to secure the accommodations required to staff and manage that facility. So they have had to make the decision to not be in Whistler at the level that they had originally envisioned.”
Germany was very interested in the concept, said Comeau. Officials wanted 100 rooms in Whistler for its delegation.
However, they wanted accommodation in full service hotels, which have for the most part already been booked out by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC) for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its associated partners. Germany would have received some accommodation in Whistler through VANOC but it wanted more.
Officials were not interested in condo-type accommodations.
The decision is a blow to Whistler said Comeau.
“…It is really disappointing,” she said.
“…Having those nation houses and that type of presence is a really exciting part of the Games and it really adds to that global village feel of the (event), so as a result we will lose some of that.
“There will be a German presence but it will be much smaller. Their decision was based on accommodations.”
No one could be reached from the German NOC. But Ben Thomas of
VIP Mountain Holidays, who worked with the German delegation for three years,
said the group specifically wanted a full service hotel and would not consider
the condos that are available for rent.
“We offered them plenty of condos but the problem was they were
able to get a lot of rooms at a significant downtown hotel at a much lower
price than the condo so they said it just didn’t make any sense (to stay in