Occupation: Owner & Managing Broker of Tantalus Mountain Realty and Management: a Real Estate & Property Management company based in Garibaldi Highlands, which conducts business in Whistler and Squamish.
Furthest place travelled and why: Within Canada: Halifax, because I wanted to see my entire country from coast to coast and have touched every province except for Newfoundland. World: Saint Maarten, because I got a deal on flights before ski season one year.
Describe yourself in five words or less: A social Liberal; fiscal conservative.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? I once quit my full time job to work for the BC Green Party in the run up to the 2005 Provincial Election. And it was worth it.
What do you see as the top election issues? Financial state of municipal hall; pay parking; transit; retaining phase one rental covenants.
How would you address the budget shortfall? Clearly we cannot continue to raise residential or commercial taxes beyond their current rates. That only leaves one option left to balance the books and that is to cut expenses. But before I vote to cut one community service, I would look at cutting staffing levels at municipal hall. Unlike the current Council, which has just started with the "low hanging fruit" by cutting staff hours at the bottom of the organizational chart, I would look at cutting at the top in senior and upper levels of management and methodically review all staff hours from the top down to the Clerks.
I have been a part of numerous Strata Councils, either as an owner, chairperson or as a professional manager. This has given me first-hand experience budgeting other people's money and spending it on their behalf for the greater good. The municipal budget is obviously much larger, but the fundamentals are the same.
What do you think is the RMOW's role in boosting tourism? I believe the role of local government is to first and foremost maintain the services and infrastructure for the community. This means providing clean water, a sanitary sewer system, maintaining roads, drainage, park land, the swimming pool, arena, etc.
I believe Tourism Whistler's primary goal is to put "heads in beds" and they have their own taxation authority to cover their mandate.
Over the next three years, more than ever, the Municipality should work to maintain the resort services that our guests will enjoy once they get here.
What would you do to enhance the environment for business? I would cut pay parking in the day lots to an average of four to five dollars a day so people don't feel penalized for going into the town centre. As unpopular as pay parking is, I fear it is unfortunately here to stay. I would look at charging a slight premium for Lot 1 and charge less as you work your way down towards Lots 4 and 5.
Right now, as an Owner of a condo in Creekside, I feel myself avoiding the Village because of the parking. This is not what the developers of Whistler Village had in mind. The Village was supposed to be the town centre, the hub of all activity in Whistler.
Give an example of a difficult situation you have overcome: When I first moved to Whistler beds were scarce, so I lived in the Pem-Ho for a month. Need I say more?
Where can people go to get your platform? Visit my website: www.YesforJess.com
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