A Whistler Space Odyssey 

The Spaceship Whistler entered 2001 on an uncertain course. The astronauts at the controls had a number of tasks to accomplish and tried to steer through the asteroids, but many hazards lay ahead.

The Journey began with a "near riot" in the central control room, but in the cold light of dawn, after the excitement had died and the damage report was reviewed, the incident was downgraded to just another launch party and the ship continued its flight.

Bigger issues lay ahead for the crew in this first odyssey of the new millennium: a long awaited judge’s ruling on tourist accommodation had been expected for some time; a governmental review of the condo-hotel tax classification issue held enormous importance to the long-term financial plan for the spaceship, as did the approaching matter of buildout within the ship.

The crew had a plan but already there were signs files within the ship’s computer system could be corrupted. The term "density bonus" had popped up on one file, at the same time that another seemed to fix itself.

An age old problem, the tenuous umbilical link to the Lower Mainland mother ship, might also be tackled on this voyage. But perhaps the biggest issue that lay ahead was the long-term planning and use of the area surrounding the spaceship. The most publicised of these was of course the Elaho Valley, but nearly everyone had ideas for some part of the region known as the Sea to Sky Corridor. A veritable galaxy of acronyms had laid claim to some piece of the corridor – MoTH, BCAL, SLRD, LRMP, COTA, WCWC, MoF, LUCO – and most were making long-term plans.

The exception was the SLRD, which refused to participate in a regional growth strategy for the area, despite the fact the provincial government was offering funding to help with the strategy.

The astronauts of the Whistler spaceship tried to convince the SLRD of the merits of a regional growth strategy, opening up the lines of communication within the corridor. It might even lead to better planning of other issues such as health care and education, things the various parties in the corridor had to deal with collectively whether they liked it or not.

The captain of the Squamish spaceship was particularly obstinate. She had also refused to participate in a Howe Sound Forum and had initially called for a Whistler symposium on forestry and tourism to be cancelled. But while she was reluctant to participate in regional planning processes, she still called for expansion of the Sea to Sky Highway between Squamish and Horseshoe Bay, and for a new highway from Squamish to the Sunshine Coast.

Despite the chaos that seemed everywhere around it, the Whistler spaceship continued on. The crew kept busy conducting a series of experiments in zero growth and liveability. Where the experiments would lead to no one was quite sure, but creating a sustainable colony in space seemed to be part of the quest.

While uncertainty surrounded the journey, many on the spaceship held faith in a giant monolith that was said to be out there somewhere. The ancient monolith was believed to be a key to explaining man’s existence. On the monolith were said to be five interlocking rings, and the number 2010.

The question, if the astronauts found the monolith, was whether the pod bay doors would open to embrace it.


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