By Alison Taylor
There could be roughly $15 million in funding to create an
Olympic medals plaza in the heart of the village.
“We don’t necessarily expect that we’re going to spend all that
money on the initial phase of just developing the plaza space for the Olympic
requirement,” said municipal planner Mike Kirkegaard. “The project is really a
two-three step project that’s going to evolve over many years.”
The planning is underway once more to develop the last
remaining corner of land in the village.
The Lot 1/9 task force, which is leading the planning for the
forested site behind The Brew Pub, convened in December to review the work
that’s been done to date. It was their first meeting since council, in August,
turned down the opportunity to build the Paralympic sledge hockey ice arena on
Despite that decision task force members agreed the extensive
community consultation conducted throughout 2006 was still valid and worthwhile
and could be the backbone for future planning on the site.
What they heard from the community during that consultation was
that Lot 1/9 was to be a gathering place for locals and guests, where nature
and the built environment complemented each other by maximizing views and
sunlight and the trees. Among many other things, this could also be a place
that non-profit groups could call home.
“We feel that with the effort that we put into that process we
are in a position to quickly work with that information in a design-focused
exercise to come with some strong alternatives that are based on that previous
work,” said Kirkegaard.
The task force is planning for the site to hold the medals
plaza during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will also be a Live Site
venue — a place with big screen TVs and a party atmosphere to watch the
events. It will be designed to hold roughly 8,000 people.
But that will only be developed in context of the long-range
plan for the site.
“What comes on after that could take us another 10 years for
instance,” said Bob Lorriman, the council representative on the task force. “I
don’t think we need to built it all right away with the money that we’ve been
able to secure.”
Three million dollars will come to Whistler via the Vancouver
Organizing Committee for the Games for a celebration plaza. VANOC must give
Whistler another $1.2 million, as per the venue agreement for the arena.
Another $10 million could be coming to Whistler for the Live Site program, half
of which could be spent on Lot 1/9 and $5 million could come from the
municipality’s hotel tax.
The task force will be using the recently released Retail
Strategy to guide them in their planning.
The study calls for local independent stores and unique
tenants, including arts and crafts and experiential retailing, in that node of
the village. Lot 1/9, which has some commercial zoning, could be the anchor
tenant as a community and family gathering area with an activated and energetic
zone for children.
Suggestions in the retail strategy include: children’s
festivals, laser light water shows, jet water fountains for kids, street
performers creating a lively atmosphere. The strategy also suggests the weekly
Farmer’s Market could be better suited in this area rather than the Upper
The municipality will be issuing a request for proposals for
designs this week. A design workshop is planned for mid to late February and a
master plan is expected to be in place by the summer.
It is hoped the area will be ready to be tested for Live Sites during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.