CANADA, NORTH AMERICA, ECO-TOURISM VACATION OPTIONS
|Whistler's Green Innovations
for the 2010 Winter Olympics by Bryan Reimer
With the 2010 Winter Olympics fast approaching, it should come as no surprise in our increasingly green-conscious society that the powers that be behind the Winter Games have been making a significant effort to implement eco-friendly green innovations in the event. This is particularly true of the resort town of Whistler which will be hosting part of the games.
The scenic resort town of Whistler will play a central role in the hosting of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. In addition to hosting the Nordic, sliding, and alpine events, Whistler will also be where more than half of the 2010 Winter Olympic medals are awarded. Through an initiative termed "Delivering the Dream," the community of Whistler has been preparing to not only become a memorable host to the 2010 Winter Games but also to implement strategic framework to ensure that all Olympics-related opportunities are considered with an eye for the long-term environmental and economic sustainability of the town. As a result, Whistler finds itself at the forefront of green innovator communities.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has been on a mission to recognize and reward environmentally beneficial green innovations made by businesses and organizations throughout the entirety of the upcoming Olympics' locale. Their overall goal is to foster an atmosphere dedicated to "reducing the environmental impact of the Games while providing lasting social and economic benefits."
Some of the key aspects of this mission focus on innovative energy management, the purchase of carbon offsets to avoid depleting the environment, and an emphasis on the use of public transportation during the Games. These areas all play a role in the Committee's dedication to environmental sustainability which has come to play a central role in the green revolution. In order to recognize the most deserving green innovators, as well as inspire sustainability projects, the Committee has unveiled its "Sustainability Star Award."
A 10-person jury has been assembled to select the recipients of the Sustainability Star based on green innovations in the production of Olympics-related merchandise and products, as well as the services and locales associated with the Games. In order to qualify for the Sustainability Star, innovations must meet the following criteria:
- Produce a measurable result - Be new or significantly scaled-up from previous games - Be directly related to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games
So far the winners include:
Whistler Athletes Village
This 74-acre village consists of five main components-a residential zone, an international zone, a transport mall, an operations support area, and a dining facility. In addition, the village features individual team areas as well as recreational facilities, office space, a multi-faith religious center, a media center, and even retail space. At its peak, it will host over 2,500 residents.
The Whistler Athletes Village qualified for the award after being constructed under the relatively new LEED System (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), making it one of only 20 developments in all of Canada to meet the strict green LEED qualifications.
The BC Hydrogen Highway
This joint project of municipal, provincial, and federal government committees utilizes the stretch of highway between the Vancouver International Airport and the Olympic-hosting resort town of Whistler to showcase displays demonstrating hydrogen and fuel cell technology development, as well as highlight their real-world applications.
In addition to winning the Sustainability Star for reasons such as these, the entire town of Whistler is widely recognized as a pioneer in green innovations. Last year, Whistler was one of only seven Canadian communities to receive a provincial government Green City Award for leadership and action in a variety of green sustainability initiatives. According to Premier Gordon Campbell who presented the award to Whistler, the community was recognized for its "exemplary planning and development that balances protection of the natural environment and tourism economy promotion."
The Green City Award recipients were also determined based on factors including livability, change, innovation, appearance, and climate. This kind of recognition paints Whistler as a rare but perfect setting for the Olympics. It is a beautiful resort town anxious to welcome throngs of Olympic attendees, all the while working diligently to offset any negative environmental ramifications that could result from hosting such a massive crowd.
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