Michael d'Artois may not know the Robert's Rules of Order in the Council Chambers, but he's well versed about the ins and outs of Whistler's municipal hall.
His resume speaks for itself, from his more recent work volunteering on the housing task force for the Whistler2020 plan and sitting on the Protected Areas Network (PAN) steering committee, to his time on the advisory planning commission and his tenure as president of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce more than 30 years ago.
"It's not a steep learning curve for me," said d'Artois, when asked how he is preparing for a possible position on council now that he's decided to throw his hat in the ring.
His is a familiar Whistler story — he came to ski and never left, moving here permanently in the fall of 1975.
The following year Whistler Mountain closed for three weeks in January for the lack of snow. It was freezing cold and blue skies for miles, but unlike last year, faced with the same conditions, Whistler had no snow-making capacity.
It was a benchmark time for Whistler, remembered d'Artois, one of the first times the town rallied and came together to make it through the tough times — a defining moment in becoming a community.
The young skier from Montreal began to carve out a place for himself. It began playing guitar and singing in the lounge at The Keg, moved on to running a pension, and from there to becoming a realtor, all the while settling down and having a family.
"I would say I know most every house in Whistler," he said. "I sometimes know stories about them even their owners don't know!"
Though he knows the inner workings of the hall, he's keen to see it in action from a different perspective.
He supports the incumbents in their bid for a second term — three councillors are leaving, three are running again — after seeing the way this council has worked so efficiently together.
"We don't want to rock the boat really," he said. "We want to maintain the smooth sailing we've been having."
Despite the smooth sailing, there are some potential big waves on the horizon — housing the seasonal workforce and navigating the road ahead with First Nations in the wake of the game-changing Supreme Court decision on Tsilhqot'in First Nations land title.
"We just need to have collaboration there," he said. "We need to be in the same room and get on the same page."
He is bilingual and remains proud of his Quebecois roots, living both in Quebec City and Montreal as a boy.
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