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Vancouver 2010: Callaghan Valley Nordic Centre Update
By:  Team XCOttawa.ca   (2005/04/04)


The following is a list of short articles providing some recent information on the development of the Vancouver 2010 nordic facilities. All articles are taken from the Whistler Question, the community newspaper. Link: www.squamishchief.com.

Brief Summary:
  • VANOC is considering making the Callaghan ski jumps temporary structures, rather than the originally planned permanent steel and concrete structures. This is in response to concerns that the sport does not have enough presence in Canada to warrant permanent structures, and concerns over post-games operation.
  • The size of the Nordic Centre planning zone may be halved to eliminate some zoning area for proposed recreational trails and infrastructure. This is in response to First Nations concerns about infringement of traditional territory, and environmental concerns. On-site tourist units have also been capped at 100 units. First Nations are still supportive of the development process.
  • Operational Olympic issues will be separated from Olympic legacy concerns during the public consultation phase of the assessment process for the Callaghan Valley construction site. This is to allow construction to proceed on schedule, as there are outstanding concerns with respect to legacy.

January 27, 2005: 2010 Games venue changes eyed - By David Burke

Decisions on consolidating alpine events, temporary ski jumps expected soon Vancouver 2010 Olympic organizers (VANOC) are facing two key decisions affecting venues in the Whistler area in the next few weeks. While nothing has been finalized, VANOC officials are examining prospects for moving the alpine technical events from Blackcomb to Whistler Mountain and making the ski-jumping venues in the Callaghan Valley temporary instead of permanent structures. Sam Corea, VANOC communications coordinator, said officials with the Federation International de Ski (FIS) requested that VANOC consider consolidating the alpine technical and speed events in one venue on Whistler Mountain, with parts of the runs for the slalom and giant slalom overlapping the runs for the Super G and downhill. The change, which has yet to be approved by VANOC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was requested by FIS officials because of a feeling that the planned runs on Blackcomb weren't challenging enough, Corea said. "We looked at it and found that we could do it," Corea said. "The possibility is certainly there to have both alpine technical and alpine speed events on Whistler, on parts of the same runs. It provides some advantages in terms of consolidating everything in one area. "We don't have a decision on that switch but it's fairly close." A decision is also due in short order for the ski-jumping facility because constructed is slated to begin on Nordic skiing, biathlon, Nordic combined and ski-jumping facilities in the Callaghan this summer. The Vancouver 2010 Bid Book budgeted for $102 million to be spent on new facilities in the Callaghan. If officials decide to make the ski jumps temporary rather than permanent, some cost savings will result, Corea said. He said the change is being considered because many feel there's not enough interest in ski jumping in Canada to sustain a permanent ski-jumping legacy of the 2010 Games. Other ski jumps in Canada are located in Calgary, site of the 1988 Olympics, and Thunder Bay, Ont. "As we've looked at the sport in this country, we have to decide whether they'll be a permanent structure or not. Also, if you decide to make it a permanent facility you have to find funding and someone to run it in the long-term," he said. Jan Jansen, VANOC's director of Whistler competition venues, said a temporary facility would most likely be constructed primarily of wood, while a permanent one would mostly be of steel and concrete. Jansen said that if the temporary option is chosen, officials will look at how to recycle those materials after the Olympics, and at how the slopes used for the Games would be used post-Games. "It would be a matter of minimizing the costs and maximizing the other oppportunities," Jansen said. He said officials would also have to put together a detailed cost breakdown for the temporary facility. "One of the next phases we have coming up is to look at the detailed design and what would be the cost issues with the two different types of facilities - depending on how we decide to construct the structure, we'd have to have a close look at and see what those options are," Jansen said.

March 3, 2005 Board eyes reduction in size of Nordic Centre zone - Kim Thompson

260-hectare limit in keeping with VANOC/First Nations deal

As plans for the Whistler Nordic Centre in the Callaghan Valley take shape, the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) is amending bylaws to ensure that construction timelines are adhered to. "Now it is time to hurry the process up a little but because VANOC wants to start construction in June. As a result, the rezoning process is on a fairly tight schedule," Susan Stratis, SLRD planning consultant, said at Monday's SLRD board meeting. Over the past several months, the SLRD has been participating in the Environmental Assessment (EA) process for Nordic Centre. In her report, Stratis wrote that the goal of the EA report was to identify issues related to land use, recreation users, access, environmental impacts and First Nations concerns. During the process, Stratis said First Nations groups expressed concerns about "legacy trails" that may be developed beyond the facilities required for the 2010 Olympics. As a result, a Letter of Mutual Understanding was signed between the Squamish Nation, Lil'wat Nation and VANOC. The letter clarifies that rezoning applications should be revised only to include the 260-hectare Nordic Centre site. "Both the First Nations and the EA report indicates that broad-brush planning has to occur before other recreational trails or facilities are constructed," Stratis said. "I think the Letter of Mutual Understanding will serve as the guiding document." Stratis recommended changes to proposed bylaw amendments, including changing the rezoning application from 518 hectares to 260 hectares. Also, an upper limit of 100 units for tourist accommodation was established. "In order to complete the amendment process, I am proposing we hold open houses in the second or third week of March," Stratis said. The regional district board of directors supported Stratis's recommendations. The process moved forward only after Stratis ensured directors that the general feeling of First Nations groups about the project was positive.

March 17, 2005- Nordic Centre Planning Split - Nicole Fitzgerald

Separate processes to examine Olympic, post-Games issues

Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) officials this week said planning for the Whistler Nordic Centre will be divided into two stages - meeting Olympic and Paralympic conditions, and legacy needs - at an open house Tuesday in Whistler. "We agreed to separate the processes, so we can get to Olympic planning and separately take a look at long-term legacies," said Maureen Douglas, VANOC's director of Whistler community relations. She said the decision will allow officials to move ahead with the development of the centre in time for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. She said the decision came about after First Nations communities expressed concern about the infringement of recreational trails on their traditional territory in the Callaghan Valley. More planning time was needed for the legacy recreation trail planning as well as other legacy issues such as whether the ski jumps will be a permanent structures. Currently, jumps are being built to merely meet Olympic standards. "Whether jumps stay, there is no final decision on that. We will look at in legacy planning," Douglas said. Other legacy proposals include recreation trails, a natural luge run, a snow play area and public access for recreational vehicles as well as walking, hiking and biking trails. The open house was called to allow the public to comment on two proposed bylaws. The Squamish Lillooet Regional District's (SLRD) Community Plan must be amended to include recreation development and a "Nordic Centre Recreation Zone" must be added to the Backcountry Tourism Use classification. The Nordic zoning will allow for public winter and summer recreational use, including such facilities as a day lodge, café, retail and rental

Interesting Reading. . .
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