November 04, 2005 Features & Images » Feature Story

Eckhard Zeidler 

Seeking the green chair on council

Name: Eckhard Zeidler

Age: 49


Occupation: Designer and owner, Z-Point Graphics.

Last book read: I tend to read more than one book at a time — Marq De Villiers - Water, The Fate Of Our Most Precious Resource & Madelaine Drohan - Making A Killing - How And Why Corporations Use Armed Force To Do Business.

What music are you listening too these days: String Cheese Incident, Dave Matthews Band, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.

Favourite recreational pursuits: Hiking, skiing and full body contact rock gardening.

1. Why are you running for council?

There is a green chair on Whistler council that is supported by this community and if folks vote for me hopefully it’s because my experience, knowledge and track record makes me best suited for that environmental chair. My background in investment banking and business makes me one tree hugger that can work productively with a business-focused council.

2. What are the biggest issues facing Whistler?

2.1. The Canadian dollar is rising relentlessly against the US dollar.

2.2. We are continuing to build more than we need at a time when its uncertain whether our economy will start growing at a rapid pace any time soon.

2.3. Taxpayers potentially getting burdened with debt related to Olympics and the needs of others.

2.4. Growth outside our boundaries and pending discussions and negotiations on the future of the lands surrounding Whistler.

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

3.1. If we improve tourism value 5 per cent a year and the dollar gains 5 per cent a year we're just standing still. We can't reverse the dollar rise but we have a bright economic future if we are honest about that economic reality and use our imaginations and experience to explore and implement improved value and a broadening of our tourism economy including culture and education. Quick fix solutions won't get us back to the "glory days." There is a fantastic opportunity with 2010 to send an optimistic and positive message worldwide that we are leaders, and that we offer much more than one would expect from a ski/board resort, in all seasons. It's a fortune in free advertising for a new tourism/education product – sustainability training.

3.2. We need to take a serious breather in growth. There's a ton of development in the works leading up to the Olympics. If we keep on expanding we'll never resolve the nagging resident housing issue. The opportunity exists to meet the needs of qualified residents who want to plan a future here and not just plan their exit strategies – if we acknowledge that the major growth economy is behind us.

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