There are many important issues facing Whistler and the next council; the gate at Blueberry Hill does not rank highly among them. Affordable housing, a sustainable economy as buildout gets closer, funding for cultural facilities, diversifying the local economy, taking steps to ensure Whistler maintains its status and popularity as a destination resort — these are some of the issues that come to mind. But more energy, emotion and attention has been focused on the Blueberry gate in the last few weeks than any of the above. That’s partly our (the media) fault, but it’s also because the Blueberry gate issue was allowed to fester, coming back to council again this week — as is the mayor’s prerogative to do so — even though it had already been dealt with. Those on council seeking re-election, which is everyone but the mayor, have been saddled with the camel-is-a-horse-designed-by-a-committee compromise. In political parlance, Blueberry gate has "stuck" to them, just as the Nanaimo Commonwealth Society bingo fiasco "stuck" to former premier Mike Harcourt. Two observations: To some, the Blueberry gate issue makes any candidate in next week’s municipal election who is not currently on council look good. Secondly, Blueberry gate may be an indication of changing attitudes in Whistler. As the ceiling on development nears, housing prices climb, and more people become full-time residents there seems to be a growing sentiment of individual protectionism. It’s not necessarily the NIMBY syndrome; it’s more a lack of consideration for the whole community. It surfaces with every employee housing proposal and with most pension rezoning applications, but it appears to be growing beyond that. Certainly, everyone has the right to express concerns about changes to their neighbourhood, but keep in mind that if there is one constant in Whistler it is change. Maybe that limited view of Whistler is what has, to date, limited debate on the larger issues facing this town.

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