Sun Peaks is being considered as a possible venue in Vancouver’s bid to host the Olympic Winter Games in 2030, and municipality officials are already thinking about how the opportunity could benefit the community.
Mayor Al Raine said Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) was initially contacted by the Canadian Olympic Committee and Four Host First Nations around eight months ago, to see if the community would be interested in hosting snowboarding and freestyle skiing events.
During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, these events took place at Cypress Mountain, but snow had to be transported to the mountain to create suitable conditions for the athletes thanks to inadequate weather conditions. As a result, the committee is looking for another location for its 2030 bid.
“Technical people visited Sun Peaks and looked at the various slopes that were available that would meet the technical requirements,” Raine said. “They concluded [events] could easily be held on Mt. Morrissey.”
Other Interior ski resorts were also being examined, but SPMRM was recently informed Sun Peaks is the preferred venue.
Although Raine said the bid is still in the early proposal stage, SPMRM is thinking of the infrastructure requirements of hosting such a large event in a small community.
“They would like to have an Olympic Village for athletes and officials at the foot of Morrissey,” Raine said. “Some partnership would have to come together between a developer, Sun Peaks Resort and the municipality to figure out the buildings.”
The community would also heavily rely on spaces in Kamloops to host many of the visitors and spectators. But Raine said building housing in Sun Peaks could be beneficial.
After the Olympics in 2010, Whistler’s Olympic Village was turned into non-market resident housing.
“I’m not so sure if the actual accommodation at the base of Morrissey could be turned into affordable housing … We’d have to have some program to try and recover the costs,” Raine said.
“But there would be a need for some volunteer accommodation, and maybe we could put it in locations where that could later then be sold to or rented to resident employees as affordable housing.”
Raine said it’s too early for SPMRM to have a solid idea of how hosting the Olympic events might impact the community and residents.
However, if a bid were to move forward, Raine said he hopes it could also be a chance for Indigenous reconciliation.
“The Four Host First Nations are the group spearheading the whole proposal,” Raine said. “We bring the Little Shuswap Lake [Band], Adams Lake [Band] and Neskonlith [Indian Band] to the table with the municipality, and I see that as a fantastic opportunity to be talking about a meaningful relationship and some reconciliation of title and rights issues.”
Raine said the bid’s feasibility team will be announcing further decisions on the best venue for the events in mid-June. Once the resorts are chosen, the bid would still need endorsement from the provincial and federal government, Raine said.