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The drought continues



“This is not so much a question as a plea to the council for some kind of outreach to make this our Olympics.”

That was the last public comment at the Olympic town hall meeting on Jan. 12. It came from Jennifer Erickson, who was dismayed by the “level of un-involvement” by the community in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

On Monday, Whistler’s 2010 office presented an update to council on preparations for the Games. According to the 23-page report, in the three months since the Olympic town hall meeting in January Whistler’s preparations for the Games have gone from concept planning at 10,000 metres, metaphorically, to detailed planning at 1,000 metres.

It’s tempting to suggest that’s a 10-fold reduction in altitude and perspective, but the comments and questions from council tell the story.

Sharon Fugman, manager of 2010 Games Services, prefaced her presentation to council by saying the report was not comprehensive on action, but gives some ideas of what Whistler is doing to prepare for the Olympics. Version 2 of the master plan will be released at the end of May and will include information on street modifications and traffic impacts, sponsor activation, celebration sites development, venue parking areas, broadcast locations, permanent utilities, information kiosks, pedestrian linkages, arts programs and the neighbourhood of nations. The master plan will go through five more iterations or updates prior to February 2010.

Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden opened the questioning: “From the January meeting it was clear there’s a thirst for details. When is it going to be rolled out?”

Fugman replied that some of the master plan was available at the January meeting and more of it will be available at the end of May when Version 2 is available.

Wilhelm-Morden said that was fine, but put the information on the municipal webesite. “I, for one, want to know about street modifications.”

“We won’t know it all by then. We’re still in the planning process,” Fugman replied.

There is a thirst for details, Wilhelm-Morden repeated, about the Olympic overlay, the broadcast centre…

Some of that information is sensitive, Fugman said. The Olympic overlay is not public.

How many people from Whistler have signed up to be volunteers, Wilhelm-Morden asked.

About 2,000 people — from throughout the corridor, was the response.

Councillor Eckhard Zeidler then had a go. He noted there wasn’t anything in the report about the 2 per cent hotel tax being spent on Olympic preparations. “I think it may be time to report to the community what these Games are costing us,” said Zeidler. He then announced a notice of motion: that council report to the community on what Olympic spending and costs are to date.