At what cost the right decision?
The final chapter in the excruciatingly painful and drawn out Olympic Sledge Hockey Arena soap opera can finally be written. Like any good story, it kept us on the edge of our seats until the final page. There was a long list of treacherous and evil characters popping into the story and then disappearing, their acts of mayhem and disruption complete. Plenty of innocent villagers seeking salvation only to be sold a "pig in a poke" by slick talking money changers and black knights on their steeds. Who the true wizard is that finally drove the steak through the heart of the "beast that would not die" may not ever be known – I'm just euphoric that this tale is now over and council and taxpayers can now focus on the long list of pressing local issues.
But – but, before we move on there is an accounting to be done.
What were the costs, all the costs, to the taxpayer of the arena debacle over the past two years?
Public meetings, surveys, staff time, Eldon Beck and large entourage, drawings, newspaper notices, legal opinions, sitting committees, council time and on and on?
Because of the tirade of a small select cadre, not only has the Whistler taxpayer seen hard earned tax monies wasted, this ego-stretching effort cost Squamish any chance it may have had in gaining a new arena and hosting sledge hockey in 2010.
The harpies who shed crocodile tears at the potential of dispersing the Paralympic Games beyond Whistler effectively undermined any chance Squamish had of hosting hockey. The "Yes!" lobby gave Vancouver the sledge hockey and curling events. "Nice work!"
What would have been the only true legacy from the Games for the Sea to Sky, a Squamish arena, is lost. If Whistler Council had stood up for what they knew was the correct decision 18 months ago we would have had the compact Games, the corridor would have had a new and modern arena and we may have been further along on a workable/affordable "Whistler" second ice sheet.
And let’s put to rest the democracy card on this question. This was never an exercise in a grass roots democratic process.
The citizens of Vancouver, the Canadian Olympic Association and the International Olympic Committee each exercised their democratic right by voting for Vancouver/Whistler to host the 2010 Games. Arrogantly, it was pre-determined by the power brokers that there was no need to afford the people of Whistler that luxury – to vote, to democratically verify the dictate of the C.O.A. and big business. No one has voted on the $44.99 million overrun on the sliding centre and the $135 million short fall (and counting) of VANOC – the Olympics have never been about democratic process.