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VANOC announces liaison to Squamish

Olympic organizers need hundreds more volunteers in corridor

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Organizers of the 2010 Olympics have appointed a special liaison to Squamish.

The reason, they say, is for both to get the most out of the Games.

“I have been assigned to ensure that we maximize the benefit that both Squamish and VANOC get out of a relationship together,” said Dan Doyle, executive vice president of construction.

For some months the residents of Squamish have been grumbling that they were being cut out of any of the benefits of the 2010 Olympics coming to the region. Hopes to have rail or ferry links to Vancouver, get a new ice arena for the Paralympics and be a transportation hub have all fallen flat for Squamish.

So this new appointment is good news said mayor elect Greg Gardner.

“There is certainly a feeling of negativity in our community and that is very unfortunate because I think Squamish was the most supportive community in Canada for these Games and we need to work together with (VANOC) to reverse those feelings of negativity,” said Gardner, who learned of Doyle’s new role at its announcement at a Squamish Chamber of Commerce lunch Monday.

“We have had disappointments in Squamish in terms of planning that hasn’t unfolded the way it should. But certainly Mr. Doyle being a liaison to Squamish is a very important appointment,” Gardner continued. “I would characterize is at a realization by VANOC, by the organizers of these Games, of the very important role that Squamish has to play.”

Said Doyle: “I know there might be a history here, but… I just know that if we work together (then) whatever happened in the past, is in the past, and the future looks great for us.”

Doyle, who is also VANOC’s liaison for Surrey and Prince George, said he is very much looking forward to the new role, adding that it is like coming full circle for him.

One of the civil engineer’s first jobs was the construction of the stretch of Highway 99 between Britannia Beach and Squamish.

“Somewhere there my signature is on that rock face,” said Doyle, who is responsible for the $580 million development and construction of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues.

With more than 35 years of experience with B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation, most recently as deputy minister, he has overseen some of the province’s landmark construction initiatives. Highlights include the rehabilitation of Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge and the development of the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement project
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Doyle began his career as a trainee with the province’s transportation ministry. He worked his way up to deputy minister, a post he held until his retirement from government in 2005. Doyle also served as chairman for Rapid Transit 2000, the company responsible for building the Millennium Line extension to Vancouver’s rapid transit system.

VANOC CEO John Furlong, in a passionate speech to chamber members, urged them to volunteer and open their homes to others associated with the Games. Only 600 or so Sea to Sky residents have signed up to volunteer. VANOC is looking for at least 1,500.

It is important to have plenty of local volunteers as they have accommodation and if anything happens to close the highway to Vancouver they will still be available to put on the sporting events.

And Furlong implored businesses to do what they could to help.

At a Board of Trade address last week in Vancouver he suggested businesses alter workdays, mandate vacations or allow telecommuting to help out.

In response to some backlash to those suggestions he said yesterday: “I have complete faith that Canadians are going to rise to the occasion and embrace this… This belongs to all of us and I have absolutely no doubt that people will rally and make this theirs, we need them to and I know they will.”

VANOC will also announce its Torch Relay route on Friday.

While Furlong, who was not available to the media, would not give away any secrets about the role Squamish might play he said: “When you see what we have done on Friday you are going to feel very good and very proud of what we have tried to achieve.”

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