The Whistler Chamber of Commerce took local interests to the table at the BC Chamber of Commerce's AGM and Conference — held May 24 to 26 in Prince George — and walked away satisfied with the result.
"I think the Whistler chamber, and really the community of Whistler, had a great result at this year's BC Chamber of Commerce AGM in that the resolution we were really hoping to oppose and strike down didn't make it past the floor," said chamber CEO Val Litwin.
The resolution Litwin refers to is one put forward by the Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce to move Family Day from the second Monday to the third Monday in February.
"That resolution was voted down and the Whistler chamber did a bunch of work to make sure that we had the right support on the floor to vote against that resolution," Litwin said.
Grant Cousar, chair of the chamber's board of directors, called the defeat of the resolution a huge win for Whistler.
"Based on Whistler's tourism needs over a key winter holiday weekend we took a stand against a resolution proposing to move the Family Day Long Weekend to sync with other provinces," Cousar said in an email.
"We were successful in defeating the resolution and this was a huge win for Whistler businesses and B.C. tourism in general."
Cousar — who represented the Whistler chamber with Litwin at the AGM — went on to say that the chamber is the voice of business in Whistler.
"Representing our members at this annual meeting means we can make sure our local businesses' views are heard and understood at the provincial level, and that our local needs help drive the BC Chamber's policy and advocacy agenda," he wrote.
Also at the AGM, Litwin submitted a resolution around enhancing working holiday visas.
"It was really an updated resolution that we had submitted and had approved last year... we updated that resolution with fresh data and with a little bit more of a sharpened ask of the government given what we've seen start to change with the working holiday visas," he said.
"One of the recommendations we folded into the resolution... was around keeping the renewal period for these working holiday visas that are really working for us, for example, with countries like Australia."
Holding the tourism clout that it does, people tend to listen when Whistler talks, Litwin said.
"In a lot of ways Whistler is the voice of tourism, and when our chamber feels passionately about something when it comes to the tourism industry, at a minimum, people play close attention," he said. "What I'm discovering in these meetings that we have is that people are very eager to also support Whistler and support tourism."
A lot of that credit must go to the chamber's board of directors and those who came before him, Litwin said.
"You have to imagine there was a lot of interests that were very supportive of changing Family Day for a number of reasons, so that Whistler could stand up and oppose that resolution and kind of represent tourism, represent the ski industry, was just a really neat story for Whistler," he said.
"That's just the incredible teamwork of the present board, previous boards, my team and my predecessors in this role."
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