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Rainbow could house 1,600-person security camp during Games

Pemberton mayor says the move is a blow to the local economy

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Just last month Paul Selina, president of Pemberton's Spirit of B.C. Committee, lobbied Whistler council for its support of a Pemberton base camp.

But Severson said there were a variety of factors that led to the decision to put the camp at Rainbow.

"It's a very big investment so we have to be sure of the solution that we're getting," he said.

He would not say how much the camp costs. It is part of the $100 million contract, awarded by the RCMP-led Olympic security unit to Contemporary Security Canada, for private security work during the Games. That includes the 5,000 personnel needed from Vancouver to Whistler.

The 1,600-person application is for maximum capacity and it remains to be seen if the site and the proposal can accommodate that number of security personnel.

If approved, however, it should take care of Contemporary's needs in the Sea to Sky corridor.

"Predominantly it should," confirmed Severson.

It is not clear when construction will begin on the site and when security guards will first move in.

Severson said their start dates are subject to the RCMP official venue lock down dates.

"We build our schedule around their needs," he said.

Though he is confident that Rainbow will be a great site for the camp, Severson has a back up plan should council not give its approval for the Temporary Commercial Use Permit (TCUP) for the site.

"With the Olympics there is always a contingency that we have in the back of our mind if things don't work out one way or the other," said Severson. "We're trying to do as many things in parallel so we can have a fallback if there's any reason that something doesn't go ahead."

Target Logistics is the chosen supplier for the camp at the Rainbow lands. The company has provided housing solutions for several high profile events such as the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Its role in that event increased dramatically in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Its solution was to lease more than 1,000 brand new apartments for U.S. Secret Service and others, providing more than 2,000 bedrooms.

The following year Target built a temporary city in Milwaukee for 9,000 Harley-Davidson riders, called Riders Ranch.

The company leased a 184-acre county fairground and installed roads, electricity, running water, stores, restaurants, nightclubs, and then returned it to its former state when the 100th anniversary celebration was over.

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