A new format, a new time and a new location didn’t stir much new interest in this year’s town hall meeting.
Estimates of between 150 and 200 people dropped in to the Nov. 7 meeting in the conference centre. About 160 people participated in last year’s town hall meeting at Myrtle Philip school.
This year’s meeting included presentations on the results of the annual monitoring report and the 2010 Winter Olympic bid, as well as displays of various municipal initiatives. Visitors were invited to discuss issues with municipal staff and council members but there was no public question and answer session, which disappointed some in attendance.
In previous years the town hall meeting has included discussion groups, where each group was asked to answer a number of questions. Municipal staff felt people were getting tired of that format.
This year’s monitoring report revealed "less change" than in previous years, municipal planner Kim Needham told the crowd. Development was down over the same period of 1997 — down 1.8 per cent in value, to $86,545,000, but down 23 per cent in construction of new dwelling units — but Whistler has seen more than $.5 billion in construction since 1994.
School enrolment has climbed 62 per cent between 1992 and 1998 and there are now six portables at Myrtle Philip and five at Whistler Secondary.
Whistler’s population has been growing at a rate of 12 per cent annually and now stands at an estimated 8,700 full time residents.