Letters to the editor 

On behalf of Whistler-Blackcomb, I would like to respond to the letter written by Dave Henderson in the January 31st issue of the Pique. Mr. Henderson stated that there is a "W-B mandate to house internationals together, rather than mixing the housing on a first come first served basis." Mr. Henderson's statement is absolutely incorrect. The only Whistler-Blackcomb mandate is to house first season employees. The only Whistler-Blackcomb system for first season employee housing is first come, first serve.

A large number of international residents live in Residence, and many of them ask to live with the friends that they arrive with. So yes, it may seem like we put international residents together, but actually, our decisions are based solely on bed availability.

Whistler-Blackcomb is open to the comments and concerns of Whistler residents, but we hope that any assertions about Whistler-Blackcomb will be researched before publication.

Kirby Brown

Director of Employee Experience

Intrawest at Whistler-Blackcomb

 

Just be prepared…

A healthy community needs roots, heritage, traditions and people and a host of other things, including a bearable means to meet these needs. Our current means or business is tourism.

Most of us in Whistler realize that we are in the business of servicing other people’s needs. It's a fun way to make a living and to enjoy all the other things in life. However, a critical ingredient to our tourism success is having visitors. Optimistically the needs of our guests will be similar to ours for years to come. But are we prepared to shift our roots, heritage, and traditions if the needs of our visitors change at some point during the next 20 years?

The current trend is mountain communities, outdoor activities, being close to nature, and unique villages. What if the future mountain tourism trends are different… helicopter skiing, ATV tours, conquering nature, power boats, lots of pretty lights that light up the entire valley, warm weather destinations, and cookie cutter resorts like Disney? Or what if mountain destinations themselves just become an old trend? At what point are we prepared to change our way of life and traditions for tourists? Jokingly, are we prepared to lose mountain bike trails, bears, the South Side Deli, The Boot, the Lost Lake Docks, Garibaldi Park boundaries, natural features, and more local attractions and businesses if they don’t fit the desire of future tourists?

Tourism economies go through cycles; first attracting the explorers looking for an extremely unique experience, then all the way through the cycle to the end, attracting the mass tourist who wants a completely risk free vacation within their comfort zone. In most areas of the world this shift to mass tourism has also caused a loss of unique local character, traditional sites and culture. I remember an article I read in school about an Amish community that built a "mock" Amish community 15 miles before their real community started. The residents of the real community would travel to the mock community and entertain the tourists. All the while the tourist though it was the real community. They did this to protect their way of life and their traditions and their special places. The tourists were happy and so were the Amish.

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