November 07, 2008 Features & Images » Feature Story

Council candidate: Bill Overing 

click to enlarge 1545overing.jpg

Age: 55


Occupation: Finish carpenter/cabinet maker

Last book read: Smelling Land: The Hydrogen Defence Against Climate Catastrophe by David Sanborn Scott

What music are you listening to these days? My taste in music could be deemed somewhat eclectic. Depending on my mood, I could be listening to Frank Zappa, or Louise and Ella.

Favourite recreational pursuits: Skiing, mountain biking, tennis and swimming. That is why I came to Whistler 10 years ago

1. Why are you running for council?

I am running for council because we need a council that remembers that the people of Whistler are our greatest asset, and they need to be treated with the respect they deserve. Ten years ago there was a joy in this town that is sadly missing today. It is time to get it back.

2. Given that revenue from development is declining and the municipality is more dependent on hotel tax revenue at a time of economic uncertainty, how do you propose the municipality balance its budgets the next few years?

Given the present global financial crisis, it is now more important that the products and services we provide be the best.

It is also vital that Muni Hall control spending. By that, I mean that capital projects must be planned and executed so that the contract price is the finish price. It can be done. Look at the Peak 2 Peak Gondola: $52 million two years ago, and $52 million today.

3. What other important issues does Whistler face in the next three years?

Whistler faces several important issues in the next three years. We are preparing to welcome the world to our home to celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is vital that we put on the best show possible if we are to capitalize from this world exposure. We must address the issue of affordable staff housing. The response to the Phoenix Project, and its ultimate failure is an indication of this great need.

With more than 50 per cent of septic tanks on the Westside Road leaking into our ground water and lakes, it is critical that the Westside Road sewer project be fast tracked. Clean lakes are an integral part of our summer tourism product, and it is crucial that we ensure that all aspects of our offering are the best.

4. What needs to be done to address those issues?

With our Olympic Legacy world-class facilities, Whistler should reach out to promote world-class events at the sliding centre, Nordic centre, and if possible, our alpine centre. It is vital that we utilize every asset that we have in Whistler to draw people to our conference centre, our art galleries and our beautiful environments.

Affordable housing must be built ASAP. Staff housing has always been an issue in Whistler and must be addressed.

The Westside Road sewage issue has been around for years. The insidious environmental assault of leaking septic tanks must end. To announce that more than 50 per cent of the septic tanks are leaking, and then state that nothing will be done until after 2011 is unacceptable.

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