Christy Clark meets Whistler Mayor at UBCM 

Resort Municipality of Whistler and province to work together on Whistler's issues

Whistler's mayor had the chance to bend the premier's ear last week and put forward the resort's case for provincial resort grants, among other things.

"We were very, very encouraged by it," said Mayor Ken Melamed of his meeting with Premier Christy Clark at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention last week.

"What we went in there (to get) was ... a commitment from the premier to have her senior staff to work with us on these files."

That was accomplished, said the mayor.

"We just want to stay on the radar, remind the province that we are good partners and want to continue to be good partners. We have a mutual interest in Whistler's continued success and we want to get back to viable business levels," he added.

"I let her know that our occupancy rates are down below where we need them to be."

Also in attendance at the 15-minute meeting was Pat Bell, minister of jobs, tourism and innovation, Sea to Sky MLA Joan McIntyre and Councillor Chris Quinlan.

Melamed said Whistler did not go into the meeting with a list of demands, rather a subtle reminder of how crucial the annual $7.5 million provincial grant money through the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) is to the municipality.

He also talked about the visitor experience and raising the service levels in the resort around things like multiple front desks. This issue has grown out of a complex provincial tax structure, which in recent years has had detrimental ramifications to the municipal budget.

"We're not solution specific," said Melamed. "We want everybody to have a viable business model and providing a very positive visitor experience is how we do that."

The municipality will work with the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and the B.C. Chamber as well as provincial staff to find resolution to the issue.

"The tax issue is not the driver," said the mayor. "It's all about visitor experience and viability of the tourist accommodation sector."




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