The SLRD public hearing regarding VANOCs application to have the lands at Alexander Falls rezoned to permit development of the Whistler Nordic Centre was a breath of fresh, clean air. Concerned citizens from throughout the corridor spoke clearly on a range of issues from environmental, land use planning to VANOCs questionable business practices.
The common theme of most speakers was the concern that VANOCs commitment to this community for inclusive open process, promotion of healthy local economies and the hosting of a green Olympics had fallen to a secondary position behind that of a financially rewarding Games.
From my own personal experience I have witnessed "the Bid" entity morph from a grass roots amateur sports ideal to what I fear has become a self-serving, business devouring machine. Most of the commercial recreation operators in the Callaghan Valley have already experienced VANOCs ability to manipulate government policy and thwart legitimate local enterprise. This process, if left unchecked, will inevitably lead to business collapse and the loss of livelihood to a significant number of corridor residents.
What was refreshing and abundantly clear from the public hearing audience was a general recognition that VANOC was on a collision course with this community and really needed to refocus on its previous commitments. Should it fail to do so, it runs the risk of losing support for hosting the Games.
Surprisingly, what was missing from the entire presentation was the actual final design of the competition venues as they will be built. VANOC appears to be in such a rush to claim the economic windfall of other companys tenured land that they appear to still not have completed their venue design.
It is difficult to understand the proponents motivation for seeking approval for a concept of 10 hut-to-hut lodges on a development footprint of only 262 hectares. If the intent is to gain development density, VANOC would be better served if it rationalized the need and came forth with an honest design and presented it as such.
Business for an Ethical Games (BEG)
Editors note: The writer is a partner in Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures
SLRD map in error
AWARE feels that a response is needed to the points raised in Maureen Douglass letter (Pique Letter to the editor April 21). Ms. Douglas stated that AWAREs letter drawing attention to the rezoning of the Callaghan Valley was misleading to the public.
That SLRD published inaccurate information in the papers, in the form of a map that clearly showed a proposed rezoning of a Provincial Park, was not mentioned in her letter. Despite AWARE's inquiries to VANOC and the SLRD as to the rezoning, neither VANOC nor the SLRD could provide AWARE with a binding statement that the map as published was drafted in error. Therefore, AWARE simply wrote a letter to the editor in order to bring the public's attention to this important issue, and encourage an explanation. At the public hearing hosted by the SLRD and VANOC, the public was told that the map was drafted erroneously.