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Heli-Skiing Firm Says Olympics Committee’s|Security Demands Cost it its 2010 Season

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - A heli-skiing company near Whistler resort, where the Olympics are in full swing, claims the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympics and the R.C.M.P.-led Integrated Security Unit crippled its business by requiring customers to go through a security check before taking heli-skiing excursions in British Columbia's vast back country. The company says the expenses and delays cost it its 2010 season.

Coast Range Heliskiing claims VANOC and the security unit required customers to be taken to Pemberton airport for security screening before boarding the company's helicopters. The complaint says that the "security and goods screening procedures make it impossible to carry on its business."

"The cost of transportation and helicopter fuel would be prohibitive," the complaint states. "(T)he delays in having clients undergo the security and goods screening procedures before each ski excursion would be unacceptable."

To soften the financial blow, the company says it had to lay off employees and cancel its 2010 season. In addition, Coast Range Heliskiing claims the defendants refused to compensate it for its losses despite agreeing to compensate other companies that faced the same thing, including the operators of Whistler/Blackomb, Cypress Mountain and Whistler Heli-Skiing Ltd.

The complaint also names the Canadian and British Columbia governments as defendants, which, along with the other defendants, "created and imposed" the security requirements.

Coast Range Heliskiing is represented by A. Cameron Ward.

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