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Aftergood told Armstrong: "You’re dealing with competing interests that are much bigger than whether or not a train goes from Calgary to Vancouver. If you’re there to show them that you can run a profitable part of their network, then why in the world would the government continue to subsidize them?"
Provincial Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon’s appearance at the launch of the Whistler Mountaineer April 19 is evidence Armstrong has learned to apply the benefits of building a good team beyond the company.
At 53, Armstrong is an accomplished networker, has served as chair of Tourism Vancouver and on several charitable organization boards.
But retired railroader Norris said Armstrong’s commitment to community is altruistic and that he also has a strong commitment to his wife Wendy and three grown children. In the past four years Armstrong has become the family patriarch, with the untimely death of his older brother Bev and recent loss of his mother.
"He’s become the leader of the family clan under some very trying circumstances," Norris said. "What I’ve appreciated has been to watch him grow from a young guy into the position and stature he’s reached now. He really has progressed."
Jim Dinning says that although RMV now has over 70 route packages, a Kamloops hotel, bus line, and shiny new rail station in the False Creek area, Armstrong must continue to progress as RMV’s challenges will be to stay one step ahead of the market.
"If you had a list of 100 great vacations this year, in five years it will be 1,000," Dinning said. How the Whistler Mountaineer may contribute to that will be through Armstrong "embedding into the organization and leadership team that same kind of passion, zeal and infectious enthusiasm around guest experience."
Trundling toward Whistler, a Scottish political reporter points to a route map on the wall. "Are these two mountain ranges the same?"
No, those are the Rockies and these are the Coast Mountains, I explain.
"What’s there to do in Whistler?" he asks.
I launch into its attributes, a town I’ve lived in for only six months but born and raised in Vancouver, I’ve known most of my life. A lot more than skiing, I tell him. There’s cycling, mountain biking, hiking, flyfishing, oh, and the restaurants have these fantastic deals right now.
"What about just a walk through the village?" he asks.
I remember Peter Armstrong remarking that as British Columbians we aren’t aware of how lucky we are to live where we do. I’m suddenly seeing this town with new eyes and understand where this little train is taking me.
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