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Pique n' your interest

What about the bid?

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That’s not to say that the Resort Municipality of Whistler is wrong to look into the Squamish option, but when all our mayor and councillors can say is "trust us" they miss the whole point of the Olympic bid. Some people don’t want the best deal for Whistler, they want the facility that was promised in the bid.

In fact, almost none of the people I’ve talked to really want to see a sliding centre built on the side of Blackcomb Mountain, but were willing to put up with it if it meant the town could benefit from other legacies. Again, one of those legacies was the sledge hockey arena and multiplex.

If the sledge hockey arena was left out of the bid from the beginning, would the bid have had as much local support? And if Whistler residents did not support the Games, would we still have won the right to host them?

And if we didn’t win the Games, would First Nations have been given a chunk of land in Whistler to develop more market housing, potentially crowding our limited recreation facilities (e.g. the mountains) even further? Would local hotels have been as eager to renovate, creating noise and clutter in the village? Would the holders of Whistler’s remaining bed units be in such a hurry to build? Would our local businesses be as concerned by rising commercial rents and the fact that they can’t get long-term agreements past 2009?

And if Whistler can weasel out of one Olympic commitment, what’s to stop other Olympic partners from weaseling out of their commitments as well?

On page five of the Bid Book under the heading Legal Aspects, it states "We confirm that representations contained in the Bid Book will be binding on the Vancouver OCOG" – I’m not a lawyer, but that sounds like a promise.

I’ve taken an extreme line of questioning here, I admit, and I think that Vancouver would probably have still won the Games if the Paralympic arena had been located in Squamish from the very beginning – but these are the kinds of questions that are bound to come up when you significantly alter what many saw as a done deal.

We’ll have to wait and see what the RMOW comes up with, and whether Squamish can rally the support and the bucks to build the arena there – if not it’s probably coming to Whistler anyway and all concerns are moot.

But what hasn’t been explained is why there has been no public process regarding the issue up to this point. Whistler has open house meetings for practically everything that happens in this town, to the extent it’s almost irritating. Even relatively simple decisions are made by committee with the vetting of outside consultants.