Voting open for 2016 Chamber board 

Nine candidates vie for seven seats

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - to the polls Electronic voting is now open for the Whistler Chamber of Commerce's 2016 board.
  • file photo
  • to the polls Electronic voting is now open for the Whistler Chamber of Commerce's 2016 board.

Voting is now open for the Whistler Chamber of Commerce 2016 board of directors — and there's a lot to choose from.

The board is looking to fill seven vacancies this year.

Nine names are on the ballot: newcomers Brady Smith, executive director of the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, Christy Allan, director of sales and marketing for the Sea to Sky Gondola, James Kirkwood of Kirkwood Consulting, Lloyd Daser, GM of the Pan Pacific Whistler, Nick Papoutsis, community manager of Whistler and Pemberton BlueShore Financial and Ray Longmuir, associate broker at the Whistler Real Estate Company, as well as incumbent directors Flora Ferraro, VP of finance at Whistler Blackcomb, Grant Cousar, CEO of Whistler Cooks and Michael Mills of Fotosource and Coast Mountain Photography.

"To be honest, if I could get any of these people on my board I would be pleased," said Whistler Chamber CEO Val Litwin.

"We put in a lot of good energy and effort to make sure that we're reaching out to those business sectors in the community that are maybe not represented or under represented on our board."

Whistler Chamber board members are elected to serve three-year terms.

"The way we've staggered the terms is that there will be natural turnover of three to four members each year," Litwin said.

"It means that we can make sure those board members get up to speed at a good pace, and that we have fresh energy and fresh thinking coming into the board constantly."

This year there are a few extra vacancies, as current board members Ben Thomas, Kirby Brown and Dave Williamson are all prematurely moving on for various reasons.

But the number and quality of names coming forward to replace them is encouraging, Litwin said.

"Going from a couple years ago where we just had board members getting voted in by acclimation... to going to nine phenomenal candidates in our community, I think it speaks volumes about the quality of talent the chamber is managing to attract."

The issues facing the board over the next year will be similar to the previous 12 months, Litwin said.

"I think labour and housing will continue to be two very hot issues for the business community. That's not going to change," he said, adding that the chamber will be looking to strike a retention and recruitment working group in the new year.

"That is something that we will be looking at in 2016 that I think will be an area where we will have an opportunity as a chamber to make an impact," he said.

"But we'll certainly be tapping the collective intelligence of our membership to find a solution to that problem."

Continuing to promote the Whistler Experience program, as well as working with new MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones to address labour issues, will also be on the agenda in the next 12 months.

"I just want to make sure that were continuing to build a chamber that is relevant and delivers phenomenal value to our members," Litwin said.

All chamber members in good standing are eligible to vote for the 2016 board.

To register to vote, email Litwin at — you'll then receive a secure voter ID, pin number and e-ballot link.

Voting closes at midnight on Tuesday, November 24.

For more information — and to view each candidate's statement of interest — head to



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