Bronwyn Green wants to make something clear: She did not launch the "Hell No We Won't Pay" day lot parking protest. She merely started the Facebook event page.
By the time Green had spoken to Pique about her involvement in the protest, nearly 1,200 people were planning to attend. Naturally, many of those had assumed it was she that sparked the protest and not the true instigator, Pique columnist G.D. Maxwell
"I had Global TV talk to me and stuff," said Green with a laugh. "I don't know. It's a little bit weird because I don't even drive.
"I just figured it was a probably a good idea to gather everyone together and gather awareness that way.
"Facebook's pretty good for inviting anybody. At least you have an idea of how many people are coming."
The fact that one-tenth of the town has RSVP'd through the Facebook page has floored the senior Whistler Secondary School student. She knew people were upset about the parking - but this upset?
"I think that's nuts! I had no idea," she said. "And it's nice because it's not me planning everything, I just started the group and people have started pitching in. It's definitely a group cause."
A thoughtful 17-year-old, she likens the increase in parking fees to "a slap in the face" to Whistler locals and she's now worried about the negative impact the increases could have. Born and raised in Whistler, she understands, as many working teenagers do, the impact that fewer tourists in town have on businesses. As low people on the totem pole, teens are the first to have their shifts cut. Whether $13.50 for pay parking will negatively effect tourist visits remains to be seen but it is nonetheless a source of intense frustration for locals.
"They're telling us that we need to take the bus or we need to ride our bikes more, but what if you're a mom picking three kids up from school and you need to do your grocery shopping? Or if you have a professional desk job, you can't show up to work and be sweaty," she said.
As for her relationship with Maxwell, there is none. There was no discussion between them for Green to take the cause online. She just thought Facebook would be the most effective way to garner some interest and keep track of how many people are coming.
"For me, it was something to get a lot of attention," she said. "It's a very controversial thing for people in Whistler I think."
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