Letters to the editor 

Don’t blame those financial tools

In response to the July 17 letter in Pique from Jamie Pike, I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify some background around "financial tools".

Whistler identified the opportunity to seek an additional portion of hotel tax — or financial tools — for our community as a 2010 Winter Games legacy. After leading a group of B.C. resort communities to pursue this contribution from the Province of B.C., the additional funding was approved in spring 2006.

We will receive around $7 million from the hotel tax annually — the amount is variable depending on hotel tax intake. The opportunity to see more tourism industry revenue redirected to resort communities is very positive as the dollars previously went back to general provincial revenues.

The use of these new dollars is intended for, and confined to, funding tourism programs and infrastructure as part of the province's goal to build tourism. Whistler is investing the monies in projects such as trail improvements, arts and culture programs, iHost and village enhancement projects like Celebration Plaza. The dollars cannot be used to offset taxes or for traditional municipal project spending.

As Whistler approaches "build out," and as our infrastructure ages, new revenue sources such as this will help our community maintain our competitiveness and grow our annual hotel occupancy beyond 54 per cent, and ultimately achieve our vision to be the premier mountain resort community — as we move toward sustainability.

Staff at the RMOW are always available to answer questions about this or any other municipal business. Please call 604-932-5535 or e-mail info@whistler.ca.

Bill Barratt

Chief Administrative Officer

Resort Municipality of Whistler

Olympic legacy looking familiar

Here we go again, another $11.5 million of spending on paving the parking lots and the Fitzsimmons Creek debris barrier — Wow, another TajMaLibrary sized cost for the taxpayers of Whistler as VANOC backs away from their commitment to pay 40 per cent of the paving costs.

Not only this but we will have to pay steep parking costs of $8 to $12 a day. The statement "all other parking lots will remain free" won't hold up for a second as IGA, the muni lot next to the Royal Bank and the muni golf course will have to introduce fees or be swamped.

So there is another $1,000-plus a year for Whistler families to absorb — ironic the article about the costs was juxtaposed across the page in Pique from "Affordability is Whistler's number one challenge."

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