A change in spending 

RMOW budget likely to shrink, and local businesses may feel it

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“The municipality has to do what they have to do to take care of our tax dollars,” said Charters.

“It is not our main thing. We built the library, and we do the odd thing with the municipality, but it is not our main thing. I don’t know any companies where it is their primary source of revenue.”

But the local construction industry is already feeling the pinch of the economic crunch beyond RMOW spending, said Charters. His company has been getting calls from as far away as Saskatchewan and Alberta from people looking for work.

“The bit of silver lining to this whole thing is that… pricing should be softening, and you are going to be able to get things done without the crazy cost escalation that we have gone through over the past couple years,” said Charters.

“We are seeing that already. Trades are more competitive, so it is turning into a consumers’ market.”

Materials, though, will probably increase because the Canadian dollar is now about 80 cents to the U.S. dollar.

Brian Brown, president of R. B. Brown Land Surveying Ltd., has no idea how municipal cut backs could impact his business. But he said surveying is a funny business because nobody hires a surveyor unless they have to.

“It is not usually discretionary spending,” Brown said, adding that while his surveying company has not yet felt the impact of the economy, businesses in the Lower Mainland are laying off employees.

To prepare for Whistler’s business climate after the Olympics, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce plans to hold a strategic planning session in early 2009.

“We’ll prepare for that session by speaking with other Olympic cities and learn from their experience post-Games, as well as speaking with our membership about what they think and need post-2010,” said chamber president Fiona Famulak.

She said the chamber already knows Whistler’s business climate will probably be very different from today.

“In addition to business potentially falling away, there may be new businesses in Whistler that decide to stay as a result of their success in 2010.”

Famulak added that she is glad that Mayor Ken Melamed and Barrett Fisher, president of Tourism Whistler, will both be sitting on the chamber’s board this year.

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