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olympic stuff

After initial concerns opportunities for hosting Olympic events in the Callaghan Valley might be lost through a lack of communication , Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly is satisfied everyone is on-side. Municipal staff toured the Callaghan last week with representatives from various provincial ministries and Western Forest Products — a group of approximately 30 people. "It was surprising, we finally got everyone together," O’Reilly said. "We looked at various sites and issues. It was a very positive day in that way." "It was encouraging, everyone is on-side. No one wanted to do anything to hinder the Olympic bid." Western Forest Products has cutting rights in the Callaghan, the valley which has been proposed as the site for the nordic events if the Vancouver-Whistler bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics is successful. O’Reilly and others involved in the Olympic bid have said they do not want to stop logging but have concerns that it be done in a way that will lessen the impact on the proposed nordic site. However, up until a few weeks ago there had been no communication between Western and the people involved in the Olympic bid. There are also mining rights in the Callaghan and the area has become a hotbed for backcountry recreation in both winter and summer. "Issues were identified. It was a good start," said O’Reilly. "People’s awareness levels improved." Meanwhile, O’Reilly was part of a conference call last week that included Tourism Minister Ian Waddell, Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen and Arthur Griffiths regarding the next stage in the bidding process. Those people, as well as Liberal MP David Anderson, are expected to be part of the committee which takes the Vancouver-Whistler bid to the International Olympic Committee in three years. "It’s the first stage, really. We’re back to square one. We’re going to try to define how the next three-four years will play out." O’Reilly said he was "very satisfied with where we’ve come from to where we are now," regarding the Olympic bid. "We’re seeing the power of the bid right now. I seriously doubt Tourism and Mines ministry representatives would have been on the tour if you had told them it was about the LRUP (local resource use plan)."

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