Council candidate: Tom Thomson 

click to enlarge 1545thomson.jpg

Age: Born in 1941 – do the math!

Website: Work in progress

Occupation: Struggling artist – what else with a name like mine. “Want to buy an original?”

Last book read: The Edge of Never by William A. Kerig, the story of Trevor Petersen and his son Kye, a must for every Whistler skier’s bookshelf — “Trevor would do it”

What music are you listening to these days? Chuck Berry — Riding along in my automobile…

Favorite recreational pursuits: The menu of the day, be it hard plate snowboarding, downhill skiing, cross country skate skiing, mountain biking, road biking, hiking and scouting for new images to paint.

 

1. Why are you running for council?

This is my 40 th year of living the “Whistler Dream”. I have always tried to give back to this community, either as a volunteer or in my profession as a broadcaster and teacher. Now I hope to be fortunate enough to help others share that dream by improving upon local governance to ensure that their dream and mine continues to improve. I have a unique skill set which will stand me in very good stead around the council table — empirical knowledge, the ability to think critically, strong communication and motivational skills and a very good team player.

 

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?

In order to balance a budget we must obviously not spend more than the incoming revenues. This requires reviewing programs, setting priorities and making tough decisions where necessary to cut or reduce those programs deemed to be of lower priority. Setting priorities must be matched with strong initiatives to ensure that we have a healthy business community that attracts heads in beds, fills our restaurants, health spas, stores, galleries and a vibrant night life — successful Whistler businesses means healthy revenues to the resort.

 

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

Paramount is the issue of short-term employee housing. Forty years ago I slept on a floor my first night in Whistler and today that trend continues for many seasonal employees. There is a fluctuating pool of front line employees who every year are unable to meet one of the fundamental human needs — shelter.

 

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

Examine current zoning bylaws for possible changes to allow more employee suites and in-fill construction.

Revisit the recent allocation of over 300 additional temporary units at Cheakamus Crossing by VANOC and the province. They could be purchased by local businesses (similar to the Phoenix proposal) and the money used to purchase replacement buildings for the original distribution around the province after the Olympics (this would eliminate many costs associated with moving buildings in and out of Whistler and infrastructure construction).

Examine the use of land bank lands at Cheakamus Crossing or other possible locations for creation of dormitory style accommodation for transient workers.

Facilitate appropriate meetings with business leaders and developers to identify the impediments and formulate solutions to providing short-term employee housing.

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