corridor chambers 

For the first time the board of directors from the Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish chambers of commerce met to discuss common concerns in the Sea to Sky corridor. The meeting, held in Whistler Feb. 8, brought together more that 25 members of the boards of directors to discuss two key themes: transportation and tourism. All chambers agreed the corridor has serious public transportation problems and that car pooling has not been promoted or encouraged as much as it could be. "Nearly 30 per cent of Whistler employees live in Squamish or Pemberton," said Whistler chamber president, Bob Adams. "Encouraging car pooling and initiating an internet car pool bulletin board would be a big step toward safe, reliable transportation for staff." Squamish chamber president Shabbir Dhalla said legislative changes to regulations that govern transit will also make bus travel between the three communities more convenient. "Currently the Whistler airport bus and the Vancouver ski bus will not allow passenger drop-off or pick-up in Squamish or Pemberton," said Dhalla. "With no convenient bus transportation, this only encourages more vehicle use on an already congested Highway 99." All three chambers have also agreed to work together to promote the unique tourism assets of all three communities which should, in turn, build added value for guests, generate tourism revenue in each community and encourage longer stays in the corridor. The chambers will strike a Corridor Tourism Committee to work to this end. Mark Blundell, Pemberton chamber president, said the tourism committee will create a "win-win situation" for both visitors and the corridor communities. "Assisting with the development of the Sea to Sky Trail is just one example of where joining forces would benefit us all." In addition to tourism and transit, the three chambers share other concerns. The purpose of the February meeting was to bring the groups together and open the channels of communication on key issues. Building on the success of the first pow wow, the chambers will be meting twice a year. The next gathering will be hosted in Squamish in September.

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