There can be little doubt that 2011 was a game-changing year in Whistler.
It was the year the resort really came face-to-face with the post-Olympic reality with the honeymoon-glow of hosting the 2010 Games fading.
It was a year residents battled with the global fall-out of a story that went viral about the slaughter of up to 100 sled dogs run by a local operator after he claimed he came face-to-face with the reality that he couldn't afford to feed them all.
(Investigations have concluded that up to 56 sled dogs were killed. Officials have not laid charges yet in the killings nor have they confirmed that any of the dogs were killed inhumanely.)
It was a year that saw residents mad as hell about the introduction of pay-parking for the day skier lots near the village, and the continued operation of an asphalt plant on the borders of the newly built Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood — our Olympic athlete village legacy.
In the fall we saw higher than average voter turnout for a municipal election that was all about taking Whistler forward in a time of economic challenge.
It was an election that removed every incumbent from council — not just a sign that people were looking for change, but also that voters were looking for new ways to tackle what are really on-going issues such as how to keep the resort economy at least stable if not growing, and how to continue to get financial accountability at a local government level.
Of course, there are no quick fixes.
Leading up to Christmas Pique continued its push to report on financial accountability at municipal hall— along with questions on the issue from residents. This resulted in more information about the costs of the Service Review being revealed — namely that the review is in fact more than 30 per cent over budget after all, coming in at $126.868.
What makes this startling is the bumbling Pique has had to deal with in getting the true cost of the Review. Over repeated emails and interviews it has been almost impossible to pin down the cost and at one point Pique had to run a clarification after printing that the Review was over-budget.
Not so said municipal spokespeople at the time after being told by municipal staff that was the case.
But as Pique continued to push for clarification, following up on a determined resident's FOI on the costs associated with the consultant who carried out the report, it was revealed that the Review looks to be coming in at $40,000 more than the $88,000 quoted previously by municipal spokespeople.
I accept that there are many, many financial arrangements within local government that have so many moving parts to them that it can be difficult to easily find out, or sum up, an end cost — though I firmly believe it can be done.
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