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A tale of three Olympic towns

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Dec. 15, 2009 marked the last council meeting in Whistler, B.C until March 23, 2010.


The Winter Olympics are coming to town and it appears that our elected officials will be too busy to deal with democratic issues.

Surely our mayor and council are violating some portion of B.C.'s Community Charters Act, but the meeting came and went, without a peep from local residents.

The folks at the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) posted the following statement on their website: "Please note that no Regular Meetings are scheduled for January and February 2010. Should an important issue arise that Council needs to meet on; the Mayor or two Council Members can call a Special Meeting of Council according to the Community Charter."

No mention of a wage reduction for mayor and council for those three months, or what exactly constitutes  an "important" issue.

Interestingly enough, the mayor and council of the other two Olympic host towns, Richmond and Vancouver, will be holding regular council meetings prior to and after the 2010 Olympics.

2010 Council Meeting Schedules
Resort Municipality of Whistler - Meetings cancelled Dec 15, 2009 to March 23, 2010
City of Richmond: Jan 11, Jan 25, Feb 8, Feb 22, Mar 8 and March 22.
City of Vancouver: Jan 19, Feb. 2, Mar 2 and March 23.

Varying hours of operation for City Hall
Whistler's town hall will be reducing its regular hours of operation to 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. After all, there's only 24 hours in a day and there's gold medal ice hockey events to attend, Olympic pins to trade and way too many VIP events to even count.

Richmond City Hall will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the Games. The City of Vancouver's operating hours will vary. Some departments like planning will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. while other departments will be open regular business hours, including their call centre.

Municipal staff redeployed as by-law officers
During the games, a number of Whistler's municipal staff will be deployed to Olympic-related positions. 14 new bylaw officers were appointed at this week's council meeting. 13 of those were municipal staff, while the 14th appointee was Dwight Henninger - Vail, Colorado's chief of police.

A U.S. police officer seems like a strange choice for a "temporary" municipal bylaw officer, but it makes sense given the rumblings of Denver and Beaver Creek/vail bidding for the 2018 (or 2022) Winter Olympics. I believe Henninger will be doing what the Vancouver Integrated Security Service (VISU) refers to as "intelligence gathering."

Either way, people who normally earn in excess of $100k/annum will be looking after Whistler's signs, noise infractions, vehicle parking and idling, and making sure that your dog has the proper license.

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