News » Whistler

No deal with VANOC to rent school space

Proposal too rich for OLympic organizers



Page 2 of 3

In 2007 VANOC requested that all four high schools in the district be closed to house volunteers and other workforce during the event.
VANOC asked that elementary schools stay open because it recognized that working parents would have to take vacation at Games time to look after their kids if the schools closed. The Resort Municipality of Whistler also wanted the schools to stay open.

However, after community meetings and a survey it was decided that all elementary schools would close for a spring break week during the Olympics, the high schools in Pemberton and Squamish would close for two weeks and the Whistler high school would close for three weeks and two days.

(In Whistler, 32 per cent of those who responded to the board survey on the school closures said they felt the schools should stay open.)

The prospect of renting out space in the schools necessitated a whole new calendar being drawn up for students throughout the district.

"The whole calendar has been fraught with angst and hand wringing and hair tearing in this process," said Cathy Jewett chair of the District Parent Advisory Council for Sea to Sky.

"I must say I am really disappointed in the time lines that VANOC has used. They were very silent to begin with, then a small flurry of activity, and now the talks have shut down, so it is very disappointing."

She pointed out that while VANOC is under no obligation to rent out the school space there was an expectation that it was going to happen and the deal would provide funds for programs to help with childcare for at risk youth and the children of people working flat out to make the Games a success in the resort.

It has been challenging for VANOC, added Jewett, that the high schools in the communities are not all closed for the same length of time during the Games.

The district has nine elementary and four high schools that may be of interest to renters in the communities of Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.

Under the approved school calendar:

ยท Spring break for Whistler Secondary will be moved from March 8-12, 2010 to Feb. 22-26, 2010 and the school will also be closed for an additional two weeks prior to the moved spring break and two days following the moved spring break, resulting in a total closure from Feb. 8 to March 2, 2010.