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Maxed Out: Brace yourselves… the 2022 Maxies are here

The good, the bad and the ugly
It’s time to open the envelopes and award the highly-coveted Maxies.

Wow, another trip around the sun. You remember the sun? Whatever. This being the last chance to look back on 2022, what would looking back be without celebrating those accomplishments we’d love to remember... or forget. So, once again, it’s time to open the envelopes and award the highly-coveted Maxies.

Mountain Culture Category

Best On-Mountain Achievement: Though temporarily lost in the Sea of Missing Supply Chain, the new Red Chair and Creekside Gonjala were up and running for Christmas.  Now we just have to teach all those folks to ski off of Red and not stand around trying to figure out what they should have figured out on the ride up.

Least Best On-Mountain Achievement: Where have all the groomers gone? I don’t know, and I wish people would stop emailing me asking. Your guess is as good as mine.

Best Homecoming: Crankworx returned this year after its covid-induced hiatus and proved to be a crowd-pleaser wherever events were held—and simply a crowd at the clinic.

All Politics is Local Category

Timing is Everything: After rounds of foot dragging and hair pulling, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) mandated covid vaccines for its employees... March 1, 2022! Which is more or less when, let’s see, everyone else was lifting mandates, disproving the old saying about better late than never. (The mandate was lifted one month later, on April 8.)

Quick, Watson; The Needle: Jumping into the fray and doing their bit to fight the devastating effects of inflation, the RMOW announces the 8.3-per-cent solution. Which is, the increase in 2023 property taxes they need to attract and retain staff. They said it; I didn’t.

Roll Another One: After taking almost enough time—but not quite—to approve a development proposal, the RMOW finally unveiled its retail cannabis policy. The plan hamstrings long-legal potrepreneurs with three-year temporary use permits and the social responsibility of shouldering reconciliation, giving peace pipe a whole new meaning.

It’s Not Easy Being Green: Not inexpensive, either. Adding to the circus of hoops and delays builders have to jump through, the muni’s Green Building Policy piles on costs, thereby improving the affordability of living in paradise. Sorry, that’s un-affordability.

Silver Lining: Was it all bad? Naw. Humanity, or at least absurdly high costs, encouraged council to step away, far away, from the earlier green-lighted White Gold beautification project to underground utilities and pile unknown costs on to existing homeowners.

The Old Boys—and Girls—Club: While several aspiring local candidates touted being able to speak for the younger Whistlerites as a credential, it seems they were speaking to a vacuum. With an abysmal turnout of just 35 per cent of eligible voters, the people they hoped to represent didn’t really give a damn.

Except When It Isn’t Category

Show Me the Money: B.C.’s provincial government slammed the door on the 2030 Olympic bid, deciding even they could find better ways to spend a bazillion dollars.

It’s Only a Flesh Wound: Like Monty Python’s Black Knight, the 2030 Olympic disorganizing committee rose, Phoenix-like, to take another kick at the can with yet another “budget” showing how a bazillion dollars made sense.

Nice Day For a Walk, Part I: Hewing to its voice-o-da-people union roots, the provincial NDP government refuses to get involved when BC Transit allows its carpetbagger contractor, Pacific Western Transportation, to leave Whistlerites walking for 137 days rather than recognize operating buses is a very essential service.

Nice Day For a Walk, Part II: While floating a budget long on pork, the province once again dishes up not a morsel for regional transit in the Sea to Sky corridor, despite lip service to the contrary.

A Comparative Bargain?: Last winter’s Freedumb Convoy and its offshoot in Alberta is estimated to have given Canada an economic hit of somewhere in the neighbourhood of $6 billion... with a “b.” With no end in sight, the federal government invoked the Emergency Act to end it. The inquiry looking into that step cost an additional $18.8 million. When the inquiry was finished, 63 per cent of Canadians said they approved of the government’s actions, down a few per cent from the two-thirds who approved in February. Seems a poll would have saved cost.

Moo-ving Tribute: While not a government, per se, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), our regional healthcare “government,” applauded the local clinic and, indirectly, the Whistler Health Care Foundation, when the latter raised the money for a much-needed new trauma unit at the Whistler Health Care Centre. Given VCH should have been ponying up the money for the infrastructure itself, instead of treating the local clinic as a cash cow, the praise seems particularly tone deaf.

Local Culture Category

The Good:  Tireless work behind the scenes has laid the groundwork for a more comprehensive way to provide local health-care. Whistler 360 holds out the promise of better access for Whistleratics to needed, non-emergency health-care.

The Audain Art Museum’s amazing show, The Art of Dempsey Bob, showcased the best collection of one of Canada’s most amazing artists. Trumping it all was Bob himself, who hung around for days to talk to anyone who wanted to hear more.

After two decades of building the Whistler Writers Festival into an important cultural event, Stella Harvey steps back, Rebecca Wood Barrett takes over, and Stella moves on to be named Citizen of the Year.

The Bad: The exodus of longtime locals continues. Whether it’s age, health or simply the reality of sitting on a goldmine they always thought of as a home, the town continued to bleed the very folks who helped make it a reality in 2022. A double loss considering virtually none of their homes were purchased by locals.

The closure of Town Plaza medical office. Growing population, diminishing medics, more pressure on emergency care instead of family docs.

User numbers doubled on the River of Golden Dreams as flotillas of disposable rubber rafts littered the shoreline and at least one wrong-headed local petitioned for a ban on commercial boats instead.

The Neverendium modern Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse continued to put pressure on the liveability of Tiny Town—Housing, Staffing, Traffic and Parking.

The Ugly: Nimbys never die, they just pop up wherever building proposals appear. Whether it was the White Gold proposal now on life support or the Alta Lake Road development, the ugly side of the I’ve Got Mine, Screw You mentality continued to play out.

Whistler locals may be resilient, but the numbers turning to Whistler Community Services Society for help call into question just how much longer they can hold out.

While it doesn’t turn into a shooting war as it does in many places around the world, religious intolerance of a more muted variety is alive and well in Whistler. I won’t review the details, but no one comes out looking particularly good. Revisit love thy neighbour, please.

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