Cheakamus Crossing volunteer awarded Jubilee medal 

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Before Eric Martin was presented with the Diamond Jubilee Medal Tuesday evening, he was busy working on another deal for the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood. For free.

Upon accepting his medal, Martin mentioned his meeting with a licensed daycare operator who is planning on taking on the commercial space, once zoned for a pub, which will be able to accommodate 33 children.

It's all part of his volunteer job as president of the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation, the organization that built the $161 million athletes' village for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and then converted that village to a resident neighbourhood post-Games.

"If there's a message I can send, I thoroughly believe in volunteerism," said Martin, at council chambers Tuesday.

In typical down-to-earth fashion, Martin recognized the team effort of putting the project together.

He also thanked his former boss Nat Bosa, of Bosa Development Corporation.

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden outlined Martin's other volunteer work in Whistler most notably his project management of the ice rink at Meadow Park in 1991, another volunteer job. Martin brought the project in on budget, at $5.36 million, despite the awful soil conditions.

"You completed the project management at an incredible value for the community," said the mayor.

Martin also sits on the board of trustees for the new Audain Art Museum.

He spoke of his wife Jenny, who was in the audience, and his children during his short speech. Martin has owned a place in Whistler since 1980.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities put forward Martin's name for the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to mark the 60th anniversary of the queen's accession to the throne.

Economic opportunities to explore with sister city

The mayor has pinpointed a potential new tourism market for Whistler in the wake of her trip to the municipality's sister city, Karuizawa, Japan.

Karuizawa is a one-hour bullet-train ride away from Tokyo and the mayor learned that some of that city's 35 million people look to beat the summer heat overseas.

Whistler could be that place.

"I think there is an economic opportunity there," said Wilhelm-Morden during her presentation on her recent trip, paid for by the city of Karuizawa.

Council unanimously supported her proposal that staff investigate ways of developing Whistler's sister city relationship, including any economic opportunities.

"I'd like to do this sooner rather than later, strike while the iron is hot, so to speak," said Wilhelm-Morden.

As she shared stories and pictures of her trip the mayor said she learned that the sister city relationship is very important in Japan.

Consequently, she said: "At this end we need to pay more attention to that relationship."


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