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Letter: Decision on parking should be driven by Whistler’s needs, not Vail Resorts’

'Had there been public engagement, you would have heard plenty.'
Whistler Blackcomb had originally earmarked both the Fitzsimmons Express and Jersey Cream Express chairlifts for replacement in 2023.

This letter was sent to Whistler’s mayor and council and shared with Pique.

I have just watched the video of the March 24 special council meeting to authorize the expedited approval of the Zoning and Parking Amendment Bylaw for the Fitzsimmons Lift.

First, to [Councillor Cathy] Jewett’s regret that there was little public attendance or comments on the amendment, that is simply because so very few people knew the meeting was happening. I see there is a follow-up meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. [Monday, March 27], however there has been no notification from the municipality, only word of mouth.

Had there been public engagement, you would have heard plenty.

[Coun. Ralph] Forsyth seemed to cover the concerns and discussions I and many of my friends share on the increasing overcrowding on the mountain and lack of accountability or transparency of Vail Resorts. Vail’s net income in fiscal 2022 was USD$347.9 million. Paying CDN$200,000 annually to further increase the company’s profitability is a rounding error. Since your proposed amendment calculates the muni parking revenue share to include the $200,000 Vail Resorts will certainly implement paid parking, at least to the extent it recoups the $200,000, and it will cost the company nothing. It merely transfers the liability to the residents and visitors to Whistler.

This is an opportunity to get some of what Whistler needs. The new Fitzsimmons lift is a sunk cost for Vail Resorts. If you insist on approving expansion, we need regional transport. Calculate the cost of regular Pemberton to Squamish transit and insist Vail Resorts covers a significant portion. That will take the most cars off the road.

Calculate the cost of an expanded ER/medical clinic, since much of the increased volume there is mountain-accident driven.

This is an important decision and should not be driven by Vail Resorts’ needs, but by Whistler’s. The community needs to be consulted.

Vail can wait.

Susan Burford // Whistler