Alta States 

Getting on with it - Williamson on Whistler beyond the Games

" The tide turned at Whistler when Rob Boyd was hassled by local sponsors for revealing a bit of extra baggage on the cover of The Answer. I wish I still had a copy of that picture. It's classic Whistler..."

Dave Williamson

Some Whistlerites talk. Some moan and complain. Others just slash the mayor's tires to get their point across. But a few citizens -you mostly know who they are - stow away their own personal issues and get on with the job.

Dave Williamson is a member of the latter clan. Over the last thirty years, the co-owner of Cascade Environmental has served on just about every volunteer board you can imagine. World Cup organizing committee? Check. Chamber of Commerce? Check. AWARE? Check. The never-ending design and advisory boards and steering committees and consultative groups that the RMOW seems to spin out like donuts at a Tim Horton's?  Check, check and double check.

He laughs. "I guess I just like to stay involved," he says with just the slightest hint of irony. "But seriously," he continues, "Whistler is a small community. Everyone needs to pitch in and do their bit."

And now, he adds, is not the time to throw up your hands and give up on the place. Whistler, says Williamson, needs your help more than ever.

He sighs deeply. Takes a long breath. His usual humorous tone is gone now. "We've reached an important crossroads in our evolution," he says. "For many of us at Whistler, the Olympic Games were a good thing. From a personal and professional development point of view, I think a lot of people benefited from the experience. But the Games are over now. We don't need to all march in Olympic lock step anymore. What we need now is to rediscover our character. Plug in to who we really are."

Another long sigh. "Unfortunately," he says, "we just don't seem to have the leadership to develop that new storyline. Whistler is lost right now - without direction. And from what I see around me, the happiness factor is at an all time low among Whistler residents. Businesses are going under and people are leaving town. But it doesn't seem like the people in power get that yet."

Take the RMOW, he says. "As an environmentalist, I was really supportive of the municipality's move to a greener model of governance. But I fear now that they've abandoned fiscal responsibility. And that, to me, is just as unsustainable... "

A firm believer in the tri-pillar concept for a healthy and sustainable community - fiscal, environmental and social - Williamson's own lifestyle speaks volumes on the subject. Though he's never been one to shy away from giving his opinions on issues, it's more in the way he leads his day-to-day life that you see the man's commitment to responsible living.

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