In recent weeks there has been much talk in the media and the coffee shops regarding our towns position on being a host for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It seems to me that in the rush to get on the list, a very simple element was overlooked, either in blind stupidity or mere ignorance. This simple element was: What does the community think? Never mind all the hucksters and financial benefactors who dont live here and whose sole interest is making large bundles of cash. They will not be dealing with the deep sociological scars that may or may not arise from this venture. They wont experience the inconvenience of having their town ripped apart from within by the inevitable behind the scenes deal making that is the status quo at IOC headquarters, who will apply tremendous pressure.
Why dont our mayor and council come out from behind the curtain and speak with the community? Not only in regards to the Olympic issue but for countless other concerns that deeply matter to all who make Whistler their home. Get out there and hold some public meetings and speak to everyone in the community, not just those who you feel comfortable with.
There are some huge issues attached to the Olympics, now more than ever since the events of Sept. 11, and we cant stick our heads in the ground because it really happened. The issues are Security, Transportation and Need.
On the first point of security, we will experience a police state for all to enjoy before, during and after the Games. It will make New Years in the village look warm and snuggly. I dont particularly want every terrorist on the planet marking Whistler 2010 on their calendar and placing every man, woman and child in harms way.
On the second point of transportation, we can see how one good snowfall can close the highway and rail line for hours. We already experience a lack of parking and gridlock on the roads from a busy ski day, never mind half the day skier lot being taken up by TV satellite link trailers and huge media and VIP compounds.
The third point of need is the most difficult point to address as it has to do with our communitys own identity and our economic future. Whistler is already a very large economic machine for our region and province and placing this additional pressure may be the very thing that kills the golden goose. How many of our loyal visitors will feel shut out in this new era, never to return again?
I would probably benefit financially from the Games being here, since I work in the events management sector and there would be lots of opportunity for me. However, I am will to forego this short cash injection should the whole Olympic program not fit within our communitys long-range plans.