Maureen Douglas — tweaking the Whistler story 

click to enlarge Maureen Douglas
  • Maureen Douglas

"When we quit thinking about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness."

- Joseph Campbell

She thinks it's high time we all had a conversation about the future. But not just about Whistler's future. It's time, she says, to talk about just how important the Sea to Sky corridor — and more specifically our sister communities, Pemberton and Squamish — have become in the overall "Whistler experience."

Indeed, according to local facilitator and event guru Maureen Douglas, Whistler's future success will be predicated on how well the three corridor communities learn to work together in the coming years. "We need to re-invigorate our story," she says. "We need to get rid of old assumptions. Whistler — as big brother — has to acknowledge how much of a positive impact these two neighbouring towns are having on the resort."

She sighs. Laughs. "It makes me crazy sometimes to see the lack of understanding of how interdependent we are. I mean, if we're looking for the heart and soul — the authentic personality of 21st century Whistler — well, then we have to extend our borders north and south."

She lets a beat go by. "What's the Whistler 'personality' today? Does it mean people living specifically in Whistler? I'm not sure that applies anymore."

She says she has no patience for the kind of tension that exists between the three communities. "We're all brothers and sisters," she insists. "Whistler can't deal with Pemberton and Squamish as ugly sisters anymore."

Funny Maureen should say that. For there was Mayor Nancy, just last month, "critiquing" the Garibaldi at Squamish (G@S) resort project during the Union of BC Municipalities gathering. Which begs the question: Is that really her business? Imagine the uproar in Whistler were the Squamish mayor to comment publicly over concerns he had about the viability of WB's planned lifts in Blackcomb Glacier Provincial Park. Think about it.

It's almost like the whine of a spoiled child. "Don't help little brother, daddy, because I was the first-born and you know mommy always loved me best." But I digress...

The way forward for Whistler, argues Douglas, is to be inclusive rather than exclusive. "I've lived and worked in the corridor for the last two-and-a-half decades," says the proud Pemberton resident. "And they've been really interesting years." She stops for a moment. Searches for just the right words. "But now, I think, some of us can't see the forest for the trees. That's why it's time to shake things up a bit." She shrugs. "I mean, the moment we start to share the incredible diversity of experiences found throughout Sea to Sky — and I mean really share them — well, I think then we'll be unbeatable!" She laughs. "It's just a matter of tweaking the conversation... from talking about 'just Whistler' to including the whole corridor."

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