The public is closely watching a blanket Olympic bylaw
circulating through municipal hall.
More than 40 community members came out Tuesday to learn more
about the proposed temporary commercial use permits (TCUPs) that could be used
for everything from retail outlets to outhouses during the Games.
Sandy Black, owner of the largest group of independent rental
shops in Whistler, Affinity Sports, came because he is worried about how
temporary VANOC stores could impact his business.
One of the things he was most surprised about was that
Municipal Hall staff do not seem to know how, exactly, VANOC will use the
“That puts all of us at a real disadvantage, because from a
temporary use standpoint, they (the representatives) don’t know what types of
temporary retail stores VANOC might want to request specifically,” said Black.
“They also do not know which stores or how many stores VANOC is
going to want to sublet from existing retailers.”
He said that while he learned VANOC does not want to open as
many stores as he originally though they did, he still wants to know how many
“Olympic” stores he is going to have to compete with in the winter of 2010.
“The sooner VANOC announces which temporary stores they plan on
opening and which sublet stores they plan on opening, the sooner the rest of us
can start to plan what we are going to do for next season,” said Black.
“We are now having our (buying) cycle interrupted because they
have not been able to provide us with the information to help us decide how we
are going to adjust our businesses, which is really a problem.”
Black is not the only businessperson in town keeping a fierce
eye on the sweeping Olympic bylaw.
Fiona Famulak, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said she
encouraged all of the chamber’s board members to attend Tuesday’s meeting and
make sure they are informed about what the bylaw means.
The chamber also plans to be present at the TCUP public hearing
Monday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m., at MY Millennium Place.
“Most of the questions that came my way were with respect to
retail operations in the village and food and beverage in the village,” said
Jim Godfrey, executive director for the 2010 Games in Whistler, who stood by
the entire evening alongside other staff from the municipality, VANOC, WHA, and