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RMOW buys hot tickets for 2010

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The municipality is buying some of the most coveted Olympic tickets - 20 seats for the men's gold medal hockey game.

It's part of a larger municipal ticketing program approved by council Tuesday night.

At a cost of almost $37,000, the RMOW will buy 185 tickets to be given out under various programs.

Among those with a shot of seeing Olympic gold are municipal staff, special friends of Whistler who have contributed to its success over time, visiting dignitaries hosted by the municipality during the Games and those unique individuals who have volunteered significant time and energy planning the Games in Whistler.

Tourism Whistler is also buying tickets from VANOC and handing them out under a separate business program for unaccredited media, tour operators and tourism sponsors.

Shannon Story, the municipality's head of Olympic protocol, explained that the tickets would not be handed out without first being vetted through guiding principles.

For example, the staff tickets will be part of a program to motivate and build staff excitement around the Games through things such as contests and draws.

"We felt that we needed some high level guiding principles," said Story.

Council supported the decision to buy the tickets.

Even Councillor Eckhard Zeidler, who highlighted his no votes to all new expenditures to date, supported this expense.

This decision, he said, was made when Whistler voted in favour of the Games.

"It's the second biggest party in the world," he said.

More to the point, the money to buy the tickets is coming out of hotel tax, and therefore not from taxpayer money. And it's within the Games Hosting Budget of $500,000.

"I believe that this is money well spent," agreed Councillor Ralph Forsyth.

Sixty tickets will be allocated to the two-man bobsleigh finals on Sunday, Feb. 21. That will be followed by Whistler's main hosting event.

The tickets will come from a special government partner opportunity through VANOC.

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