The perfect strategy
The public information meeting (Jan. 29, 2007) regarding the draft Whistler Sustainable Retail Strategy seemed to lack strong leadership and direction.
While the consultants talked about their report regarding the retail strategy Whistler should pursue in future, many of the speakers from the audience talked for or against London Drugs establishing a store in the village. Many of the speakers’ comments were more applicable to council and a public hearing rather than to the consultants. Since there was no strong leadership at the meeting, the result was two groups not listening to each other in one room. Thank goodness for everyone’s civility or it would have turned into a Jerry Springer moment.
Reading the summary of the key findings in the report, I found it rather amusing that one of the Community-Wide Recommendations of the draft Retail Strategy is that “No new space additions, except for existing zoned and underdeveloped space only allowing for reconfiguration of space or relocation of existing stores”. Lucky for us, council can now follow a strategy that says “no to new space” or “yes to new space, since the space has existing zoning or is underdeveloped space”, which leaves us looking at council decisions with no accountability. Thank goodness for consultant reports or no decisions could ever be made!
Further on in the Retail Strategy and under the heading “What can RMOW Do To Enhance Retail Performance and Experience”, the recommendation is to “Implement new zoning and bylaw policies that allow for important outdoor patio and restaurant locations, limits the size of retail stores at grade in specific nodes and allows for retail spill out into common areas for sidewalk events and off stroll spaces.” Again, council can rely on the Retail Strategy to back whichever decision is made depending on the various interpretations of each of the recommendations.
But the biggest chuckle of all for me happened at the meeting, after the official presentation, when the questions and comment period ran over the scheduled time. The chair called the meeting and acknowledged that he and the consultants would stay for feedback. At that time, a spokesperson for Whistler’s largest employer suggested that the proposed space for London Drugs should be used as recreational space.
I strongly support that “this company” come up with some “other money losing recreation activity”. I also suggest that many other Whistlerites would agree that “this company” could finance any shortfall from this recreation space with the proceeds from its many sports retail stores, which are no doubt leased at favourable rates and are operated in the various “retail nodes” in Whistler.
As the old saying goes: “I am alright Jack, as long as you do not sh-t in my pot.”
LD not part of the experience
With a family of four, I am a visitor, and fortunate to be a local owner, as well. There is no place for a big-box store with discount merchandise like London Drugs on the Village Stroll. The debate has moved from one of a retail/zoning issue that I would argue needs to be in line with the “resort experience” of our visitors — and council is doing an excellent job remaining focused on that — to the much wider case of affordability for locals.
Visitors vacation in Whistler to get away from the strip malls and shopping carts they left at home. They’re not here to buy computers, or 48 rolls of toilet paper from a flyer, that has the same special as in Vancouver.
True, it is important for locals to have better access to that level of affordability — and as you’ll need your car to haul that anyway — petition London Drugs to consider Function Junction instead. Easier parking, shorter than the drive to Squamish, walking distance from the future athletes’ village, large spaces available, and less cost to London Drugs will accelerate the savings for the Whistler local target market — if indeed LD is true to their adverts. Throw in a free shuttle to the village, with the monies saved on rent.
London Drugs won’t try that? Someone more enterprising will.
Sure LD, join our community, be a part of our growth, but respect what Whistler is ABOUT, and bigger, more retail goods on a walking area (or below it) is not it! The unique experience those millions of visitors take away, keeps them coming back, to support the 10,000 or so local souls that love living here.
Ironies and monopolies
Ironic to see the municipality blocking London Drugs in the village. A great protectionist move for locally owned small businesses that may be affected.
Years ago, I abandoned my locally owned small business after the muni decided it would enter the Internet access provider market. I would love to see how much the muni has lost on that venture.
May I recommend the muni consider selling their biodiesel fuel to the public. Particularly now that we are down to ONE diesel pump in town. Let's hope that another fuel provider is given incentive to break the current gasoline monopoly here.
With all due respect, I fail to see how "with London Drugs centrally located there can only be a huge spillover of shoppers to other retail locations in the village," as Michael D'Artois and many others suggest.
Yes, London Drugs will bring locals to the village to shop, at London Drugs. If other shops in the village offered locals what they wanted, they would be shopping there now. It would not take a London Drugs to draw them.
Locals do shop in the village and support local businesses for items they need and/or want. I personally have not met a local who does not believe in supporting local businesses. We all know how much local business supports our many community events. With the opening of London Drugs, would locals suddenly need/want more T-shirts, or WB logo wear, or souvenirs to send away to family and friends?
Our family moved to Whistler 10 years ago. We moved here for the lifestyle and the natural beauty that Whistler has to offer, knowing full well we would have to make sacrifices. Simply put, it costs a lot to live in a resort town. That is a choice we made. All choices have a positive side and a negative side. If you want the convenience of shopping along with the lower prices, then maybe you should re-think your decision to live in a smaller town. Trying to "have it all" only waters down what drew us all here in the first place.
Pemberton’s unfulfilled potential
We, in Pemberton, have a young community who wish to raise their families and offer them all the amenities that most other communities offer and from which they benefit.
The world is coming to view the 2010 Olympics and this community is woefully unprepared. We have an opportunity to capitalize on federal and provincial funding to develop an arena, a pool, parks and trails. If we don’t capitalize on this, all we’ll be doing is picking the garbage up after the parade, and have nothing to show for it… but the garbage bill!
Comparable size communities have viable shopping, restaurants, and reasonably priced groceries.
I believe that it’s time for the young families to become part of this community and become part of shaping the future. To become a community we must have our own facilities in which our own residents can congregate at, and not be lost amongst 200, or so, tourists at public skating or 300, or so, tourists in a pool when the weather is not favourable. I don’t want to have to drive an hour, round trip, to take my child to a half hour swimming lesson, or all the way down to Function Junction for a dance class….
How is it possible that I paid close to half a million dollars for a house in a town with nothing in it? I didn’t move my family and myself here foreseeing the future of this town progressing so slowly.
We are not all living under rocks! And I don’t think I’m the only person in this town who feels this way. Unfortunately, no one, or not many of us, speak up. We just assume it will all happen.
Well, maybe it will, but the years are going by quickly with little to show for it, except less business, less choice, reduced property values and higher taxes.
I LOVE Pemberton and am PRO development.
Please, let’s see this beautiful town at its full potential!
Change the world
How is it that we as a country, a community, as individuals have become so complacent?
Many people fought and died for the freedom and lifestyle we have everyday. People here in our own community and across to the other side of the world have nothing to eat right now.
Can you believe that our country is in the top five polluters in the world? Are you aware that there is still drag net fishing going on in our waters that is eliminating kelp and fish species that will soon deteriorate our planet? Can you stand the fact that our government has not signed a world wide treaty to protect the aboriginals? (The very people we took our land from in the first place.) We are only one of two countries who would not sign.
I'm not lecturing you to get educated and I am not asking you to save the world. I just feel a strange calling to tell you that one man, one woman, one child CAN impact this earth immensely if they choose to.
When you see something you do not agree with I challenge you to stand up for what you believe! Write a letter, petition, recycle, make the person littering feel like a fool, sponsor a child, donate to the food bank, smile at someone...
It's inside us to give and yet somehow our society has been so defeated we don't know what to be passionate about anymore.
FIND IT! Whatever it is that drives you, FIND IT, and do it! FIND IT today and change the world!
Joanne Van Engelsdorp
Tyrol Lodge a big supporter
Thank you for excellent article describing our need for volunteer course workers and volunteer hosts for the Canadian National Alpine Ski Championships in March 2007.
I would like to correct our description of the Tyrol Lodge as a commercial property. In fact, the club’s name is Tyrol Ski and Mountain Club and it is the members of the Tyrol Ski and Mountain Club that are hosting the guests in their Tyrol Lodge.
The race organizers thank the Tyrol Lodge for their generous support of ski racing and I wish to apologize for inadvertently misrepresenting the club’s status.
Volunteer Accommodation Coordinator
Cancer relay honours all
The Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life is quickly moving towards its 3rd annual event in Squamish on Friday, June 22 nd at Brennan Park.
Once again Squamish is privileged to host one of the Canadian Cancer Society’s signature events, which raised over $38 million across Canada in 2006 for cancer research, community support programs and prevention of this terrible disease.
At the Relay For Life we honour all those we know who have battled or are battling cancer. Many people Relay for loved ones who have been lost in their families or in their circle of friends. Their battles inspire others to search for ways to give back to the Canadian Cancer Society to help them continue the wonderful work that provides not only support in communities, but advocates for healthier communities so that cancer can be prevented for future generations.
The Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life is an overnight event where team members take turns walking, strolling or even running around the track. People often ask why it is held overnight and the answer is that the overnight component acts as a powerful reminder that “cancer never sleeps.”
The 2007 event in Squamish is held at Brennan Park with, music, games, and prizes throughout the evening. This year we will have many new special events to keep up the buzz. It kicks off with the “Survivors’ and Caregivers’ Victory Lap” held to honour the many cancer survivors and their dedicated caregivers. Later on in the evening there is the lighting of the luminary bags in honour of survivors, caregivers, people battling cancer and those who have lost their struggle.
This letter goes out to encourage the Sea to Sky corridor to climb on board and join our team. Committee members are still needed and of course we are always looking for new teams. If you are a survivor and are interested in registering for the Survivors Victory Lap we would love to hear from you.
See you on June 22nd, 2007 at Brennan Park!
Canadian Cancer Society, Relay For Life Squamish
WB Foundation makes a difference
Congratulations to Mei, Amy, Tamson and Sandi for putting together the best Telus Winter Ski Classic yet! Sponsors, donors, participants and volunteers don't just participate in this event because they know it is a great cause, they participate because they support you and your tireless dedication to making this event special.
On behalf of the hundreds of parents whose kids benefit from your donations, thank you for making a difference.
President Whistler Gymnastics Club