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Mayor Crompton has a message: Don't come to Whistler

'Forget about strange—the challenge we face is surreal'
Whistler Village's Olympic rings—normally a major attraction for photo-taking visitors—sit lonely and quiet on Tuesday, March 24. Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton is now urging visitors to stay away from the resort as COVID-19 spreads. Photo By Braden Dupuis

WHEN MAYOR Jack Crompton took office in November 2018, it's safe to say he never imagined that, less than halfway through his term, he'd be issuing an unthinkable message: don't come to Whistler.

And yet, that's one of the key messages Crompton now delivers through his frequent COVID-19 video updates.

"No, I definitely never dreamed of making videos asking people not to visit our town," Crompton said with a chuckle. "Not in my wildest dreams."

But then, these are wild times.

"Forget about strange—the challenge we face is surreal, and to be able to have a dialogue with other people feels good," Crompton said, of the drive behind his video updates.

The videos—posted to his personal social media accounts and shared through Resort Municipality of Whistler channels—allow Crompton an avenue to directly communicate with Whistler residents, even as they self-isolate and practice physical distancing.

"I'll say it this way: It's difficult to not be able to be with our community, and I felt it important to be able to at least communicate with our community," he said.

Like many in Whistler, Crompton is now working from home for the foreseeable future, spending the majority of his time in his makeshift home office or outside around the house with his kids.

"It's working for (my wife) Caroline and I; our kids are still getting used to the fact that we're working from home," he said with a laugh, adding that the kids are spending their time doing things like online baking challenges with friends, or helping him edit his video updates.

Crompton himself has no shortage of tasks on his plate—including planning for Whistler's eventual economic recovery.

"Our primary task right now is the health and safety of our community. That said, the rebuild requires our attention, I think, very early in this process," Crompton said.

"We want to be ready when the time comes, and we intend to be ready when the time comes."

These are anxious times, with many in the community feeling the immense stress and strain of a global pandemic—how is the mayor reassuring the community in these dire days?

"I'm comforted by the fact that we're all in it together," he said.

"This is going to require a full community effort to rebuild ... I expect us to pull together and to come through it strong. That doesn't mean I think it's going to be easy by any means. The challenge is enormous, but we're all in it together.

"Surreal is the best word for it."

Crompton wanted to thank everyone working in Whistler to keep the community going—grocery store and gas station workers, firefighters and police officers, transit drivers and maintenance workers, and everyone else in between.

"I encourage our community to send a quick text or a note to the healthcare workers that they know thanking them for their commitment to our community, and their work on the response," he said.

Can residents expect a video update every day?

"I'm not sure if people can take Jack Crompton every day," the mayor joked.

"But as long as people are finding it useful, I will be doing video updates. I don't expect to do it every day, but whenever there is important information for our community to consider, I'll be communicating through video."