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I always appreciated the line in the movie ?Philadelphia? when Denzel Washington?s character would look at someone squarely in the eyes and say: ?Now explain this to me like I was an eight year old, because I just don?t get it.? It is time for someone to explain to the community why we are going to have to fund the entire ice complex ourselves in 5-8 years. Will it take a piano falling on a future council?s head to discover we now need another facility? They will say, ?We should have taken the 2005 deal and found a way to make it work.? Could council explain to us why we will be driving to Squamish for hockey practices, and figure skating lessons because our Meadow Park arena was at capacity in 2004?
The real perk for the existing ?active? community of Whistler is the ice complex. Families, couples, individuals and visitors are looking for an alternative, something to take the pressure off Meadow Park?s jammed ice time schedule. Seven nights a week the ice is booked until at least 1 a.m., some nights later. My family wants what was promised, or this Olympic deal is a con to my children, a shell game, and a bait and switch tactic to garner support from the leery. Though construction in the Whistler Village region would seem more advantageous; if the rink cannot go in the village, put it close to the athletes village. Build a sports complex on the dump site, make it the gem of that new community: public golf course, ice rink, pool, curling, tennis and squash courts, and whatever else we love to do in Whistler. Build a sports and activity centre. Merge public and private ventures. Create something great. But pick sports that Canadians and Whistlerites do. My kids skate, ski, ride, and swim. You cannot get 15 children on a sliding track at one time.
The bobsled/luge/skeleton sliding centre: Now explain this to me like I?m an eight year old, when was the last time you saw Luging Night in Canada or Disney on the Bobsled Track? We are building a facility that children cannot use. We are going to be saddled with having to maintain an expensive facility that is usable five to six months per year, a facility that does not have a Canadian heritage behind it, a facility that could be a 2025 demolition project.
They are two different projects but look at what legacy we have to accept, and look at what is being pulled out from under us. This ice complex can be secured by a council that can create not deny. We said ?no? years ago to the World Economic Forum when they wanted to bring the world to our door and fill our hotels. ?We are too busy, try us when we need you,? was our answer. Well we are doing the same short-sighted thing. The community has a need for more recreation and activity. Another place for the young and old to build bodies, keep active, and strengthen our community spirit. Places that X-Box and PlayStation don?t conquer. Meadow Park was the catalyst. It has become an integral component of Whistler, and we are growing beyond its capacity. We will have another complex in Whistler, but when we finally build it we may have to settle for much less because we did not have somebody else?s $20 million to help pay for it.