Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

VANOC takes aim at the ‘spectating spectator’

Thinking about driving up to Whistler come 2010 to check out the spectacle of the Winter Games? Think again.

In its recently unveiled transportation plan, VANOC has taken aim at the curious onlooker – those who want to observe the mayhem and excitement of 17 days of Olympic action without actually buying a ticket.

“The issue for us that we’ve really struggled with is how do we deal with the ‘spectating spectator?’” VANOC’s executive vice-president Terry Wright told reporters yesterday.

To make way for Olympics operations, Whistler’s already tight parking situation will be further restricted with closures of all public lots. And normal subdivision restrictions will be extended all week.

So the message for those expecting to drive up for the day is simple: Don’t bother.

“There is no parking,” said Bill Barratt, chief administrative officer for the Resort Municipality of Whistler. “That’s just the reality we have to deal with.”

In order to make the message clear, car-driving day skiers and casual Games observers will be greeted with Sea-to-Sky Highway signage telling them to turn around.

Failing that, a checkpoint set up north of Squamish will ensure that only area commuters, Whistler residents and Games accredited traffic get through during peak hours.

“It’s the final deterrent,” Wright said.

The details have yet to be worked out, but checkpoint officers will likely ask to see a driver’s license with a local address or other proof that a parking spot is waiting.

Organizers are worried that without the measures, wide-eyed ‘spectating spectators’ may block roadways and constrict the ability to move athletes, media and safety vehicles.

“[This will] help us prevent an incident in Whistler that brings the system down,” Wright said.

Day skiers are encouraged to use private carriers to get to Whistler.

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for The Hook.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus