Breaking the council candidate mould with Pete Crutchfield 

Long-term local wants to represent the under-represented in the community

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - breaking the mold Pete Crutchfield wants to represent the under-represented.
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  • breaking the mold Pete Crutchfield wants to represent the under-represented.

Pete Crutchfield isn't your typical council candidate.

He doesn't own a home in Whistler or pay taxes directly to municipal hall. He doesn't have a family or coach kids. He doesn't own a business and as such, is not at the immediate mercy of the ups and down of the tourist trade. In that respect, he is unlike most members of council, past and present.

And yet, there are a lot of people in Whistler just like him — people who have concerns about their town, people who pay rent, people who care about their community, people who have a stake here just as much as the next guy.

It's not that council is ignoring their concerns, said Crutchfield; it's just that he is intimately connected to those concerns.

"They need to be represented just as much," said Crutchfield, who has been working in the finance department at the Pan Pacific for the past five years. "It's really the people that have kept me here and that's why I want to represent them."

Crutchfield moved here from Montreal when he was 20 years old. It was 1991 and he just wanted to ski. But on a sunny spring day in 1996, a skiing accident on Whistler Mountain changed his life.

He broke his neck. His injury is described as incomplete quadriplegia. In other words, his spinal cord was not completely severed. Though he can walk with a cane, Crutchfield uses a wheelchair to get around and he skis on a sit-ski.

That was the beginning of his relationship with Whistler Adaptive Sports Program — the local not-for-profit organization that helps make sports accessible to people of all abilities. He was an instructor with the program for years.

"I was the only instructor who used a bucket full time," he said.

He also served on the board of directors for a year.

While he admits he hasn't had a lot of experience on local boards, he said he is a "team player."

When asked how he sees himself fitting into a council that is lauded for its teamwork, that has worked almost in perfect harmony these past three years, Crutchfield is honest.

"I will be basing my decisions on what I think is reasonable," he said. "I will stand up for what I believe is true."

There are several issues on Crutchfield's radar — housing at the top of the list. He doesn't have all the answers yet but he wants to look into potential abuses in the Whistler Housing Authority system, cracking down on people who are breaking the rules, perhaps bringing in more rules to level the playing field.

He's also concerned about Whistler's relationship with neighbouring First Nations going forward and how Whistler will navigate in the world's changing weather.

Crutchfield may also bring some levity to the council table. When asked for a tidbit about himself he said: "I'm a person in a wheelchair who recently did stand up comedy."

Speaking of Election2014

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