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Whistler looks to build culture

Potential designation comes with significant funding



By Alison Taylor

Whistler is applying to the federal government to be a Cultural Capital of Canada in 2009 as it ramps up for the 2010 Olympics.

The designation comes with roughly $667,000 in funding for the resort to enhance cultural programs.

On Monday council committed to support the program with $167,000 in funding with the balance — half a million dollars — coming from Heritage Canada.

The money would be used for programs in 2009.

John Rae, the municipality’s manager of strategic alliances and marketing services, admitted it was a little unusual for the council of the day to commit a future council for the funding.

But council unanimously endorsed the proposal.

“This looks like a great plan,” said Councillor Tim Wake.

He was concerned, however, that the plan at this point did not include a lot of First Nations participation.

“It just seemed to be missing to me,” he said.

The programming will get more detailed closer to 2009, if Whistler is successful in its bid.

Among other things the money will go towards expanding and enhancing existing events in the resort, such as the Writers’ Festival, the Whistler Film Festival, the Whistler Music and Arts Festival and the Children’s Art Festival.

The theme of Whistler’s bid is “Celebration 2020 — A Natural Step Toward Cultural Sustainability.”

One of the goals of the program is to make Whistler a tourist destination for arts, culture and heritage as well as increasing the likelihood of attracting long-term corporate sponsorship.

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