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Cathy Jewett seeks re-election to Whistler council

Whistlerites head to the polls Oct. 15
Cathy Jewett(1)
Councillor Cathy Jewett will run for re-election this fall.

Cathy Jewett's name will once again be on the ballot when Whistlerites head to the polls on Oct. 15. 

Jewett’s top priorities are affordability, housing, transportation and progress on climate change—"things that we know the town absolutely needs,” she said. 

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) needs to make progress not only on housing, but affordability in general, Jewett said. Other issues on her agenda if re-elected include improving childcare and aging-in-place possibilities in the resort.

“Housing is the one issue that's just so tough to tackle, because it's so expensive, and if we don't get help from higher levels of government, we can't achieve it. Despite what some people think, we can’t just change zoning,” Jewett said.

“One of the problems with changing zoning is that we have to be sure that any additional bed units would be protected for employees. Anytime we up-zone, we must ensure that our infrastructure will support the extra people. You can't just keep growing and not ensure that you've got enough water and sewer and all the other things that support the population.”

Jewett first came to Whistler in 1976 for the winter season and ended up staying a lifetime. She spent most of her working life in the resort with Whistler Blackcomb Ski Patrol, retiring in 2019. 

Jewett was first elected to council in a 2017 byelection, and was re-elected for her first full term in 2018.

Prior to her election, she volunteered on the Whistler Parent Advisory Council (PAC) as her two children attended local schools. She also chaired the District PAC for six years and was a director on the BC Confederation of PACs board for one year. 

Jewett—Whistler's Citizen of the Year for 2016—was a founding member of both the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment and the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association. She has also served as chair of Communities That Care Whistler since 2014. 

Jewett believes her time on council has been productive and that Whistler has made progress on critical issues like housing, with significant developments like Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2 well underway, and the RMOW on track to meet its five-year target of adding 1,000 new beds.

“What we're missing is front-line workers," Jewett said. "We've been pretty successful with the Whistler Housing Authority model at getting more housing for people that have established themselves here, but we need housing for the people that are going to be here for one or two years."

Another critical issue for Jewett is implementing regional transit and improving bus service to reduce congestion and lower Whistler’s emissions. 

“One of the things that we've been trying to do is to get regional transit going. We know that No. 1 for dealing with greenhouse gases and carbon is that the passenger vehicles are a key factor,” she said, noting that Whistler currently has roughly 2,500 people commuting daily for work.

“We must get more people out of single-occupancy vehicles and into mass transit."

Of the election itself, Jewett said she hopes the campaigns take the high road. 

"I hope we see people campaigning positively and respectfully and the community being respectful to the folks running," she said. 

"The big difference between now and maybe 10 or so years ago is that the internet makes it easy for people to be negative towards people without facing them. I hope that people that have things to say, come to the all-candidates meetings and ask us these questions, and if they've got some pointed questions, email us—we're interested in connecting.”

The nomination period runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9, with the official campaign period taking place between Sept. 17 and Oct. 15.