News » Whistler

Message of Olympic legacies starting to get through



If you can’t find Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly at his office check the 2010 information office.

"Any time I have an hour I try and walk over there and just hang out," said O’Reilly who spoke at this week’s Olympic Info Zone meeting about legacies and lasting benefits for the community should the 2010 Winter Olympic Games be held in Vancouver and Whistler.

"I try to talk to people just one on one and I find that when I can do that I am able to really have an impact."

O’Reilly believes those with the Olympic Bid must do as much as they can over the next few months to share information with people about the Games and any impact they might have.

"Some people, you may soften them but you may not convince them," said O’Reilly.

"They are concerned and they may think that money can be spent in other ways, and that is fair.

"But we want to make sure that they understand the investments we are making.

"Investments are going to be made and money is going to be spent by senior levels of government and the private sector, and if it is not spent here it will be spent somewhere else, and perhaps this is a good investment and the whole town can benefit."

Three of the most important benefits the resort might gain, whether or not the Olympics comes to town, are a community land bank, new financial tools to help the resort, and the redrawing of boundaries in the Callaghan Valley.

Of these O’Reilly believes the land bank to be the most important.

"With that at least we have an asset to help with housing issues and community building, and that is significant," he said.

"We have no land and we can’t afford it in this market, so this is a very positive benefit."

Currently the resort is considering four sites for the land bank: The Callaghan, the Upper Cheakamus, the Lower Cheakamus and Brandywine.

To develop the Upper Cheakamus would cost approximately $27,200,000. That would include a water treatment plant, sewer connections, pressure reducing valve stations, a bridge over Alpha Lake Creek, and the development of 10 housing areas or "pods" within the 108.96-acre site.

This site would yield 2,940 bed units.

The 194.73-acre Lower Cheakamus would cost $14,895,000 to develop and yield 3,710 bed units. The price tag would pay for water treatment, a bridge over the Cheakamus River and the development of 10 pods for housing.

Developing the Callaghan and Brandywine areas is more expensive, over $50 million dollars, due to the greater amount of infrastructure needed to support the new community.

Add a comment