Although more resort workers are sticking around and buying homes, Whistler remains a young town. In the 2006 census the average age of residents was 32.2 years, or about eight years lower than the provincial average. Some 60 per cent of residents were between the ages of 18 and 35.
Newly announced council candidate Steve Andrews believes that the younger generation will make itself heard in this election, and he wants to be the person to represent them.
"The younger generation is such a multitude, such an overwhelming majority in Whistler that we really could really do a lot if we put our minds to it," he said. "I considered a run in 2008, but I went abroad that year and couldn't commit to it. Since Then I've been thinking a lot more about it and feeling the frustrations over the last little while. I've seen a lot of friends who want to stay and live in Whistler but found it so difficult to get their feet on the ground, with a lifestyle where they could afford a place to live and raise a family. I'd like to see it take another course."
There were also a few experiences that motivated Andrews. One was becoming involved in an international outreach committee created before the Olympics to come up with ways to share Whistler's expertise around the world. However, the committee and its ideas went nowhere. "I became really frustrated because after about a year we had not done anything, and the committee just dissolved... I was so disheartened by the whole experience and the whole bureaucracy."
Another experience was the amount of red tape he has had to go through to start his new business.
"There's so much red tape in the way," he said. "I don't know if it's intentional, but it's a lot harder than it needs to be to start a business."
For one thing, he said he would waive new business licences for at least the first year. For another, he said the municipality should be encouraging entrepreneurs by reducing red tape and providing links to resources.
Andrews plans to talk to people around town as he crafts his platform, and will update the public on his campaign site - whissues.com - as well as through social networking. He wants to be available to meet with people, and will check in from public locations using Four Square while inviting people to drop by.
"I want my campaign to run how I believe the municipality should also run: completely open and transparent, principled but open-minded, and fun," he said. "If there is one thing I'm really tired of, it's all the negative campaigning that has taken place the past few times around. I mean, come on everybody, we are all neighbours."
Like other candidates, he's also made reining in the municipal budget a priority. He also wants to make Whistler, "the most liveable small town in the world," that looks at the well-being of locals first and tourists second. In the end, he believes happy locals will bring more tourists.
Andrews is originally from North Vancouver and spent weekends in Whistler growing up, but moved to Whistler full-time in 2006. He has been involved in film production in the past and has started several businesses in town including a concierge service that he sold and Noey Goes Production, which produces video content and photography for websites and helps companies broadcast through social media. He's now working on a third.
Al LeBlanc to run again in Pemberton
Al LeBlanc, owner of Al's Car Wash, is planning to run again for council with a view to stimulating economic activity.
He said that council has accomplished many initiatives since 2008 including opening the youth centre, a key plank of his campaign that year, as well as building the bike park, a bridge over Pemberton Creek and generating a new direction for the Pemberton Airport.
As for what needs to be done going forward, he said more work is needed to stimulate economic activity in the industrial park. LeBlanc owns a piece of industrial park property, which he leases to a concrete company. He is also a co-manager with Carney's Waste Systems of the Pemberton Transfer Station,
"There's some issues on flood plain elevation, Development Cost Charges they're looking at," LeBlanc said. "I'm really pleased with the way the VIllage has progressed in the building department area, but I think there's some other things that can be done just to help businesses get started out here because I think there's a lot of interest."
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