Editorial 

Murphy was an optimist

Don't sit there mumbling

Talkin' trash

If you want to have a ball,

You got to go out and spend some cash

And let the good times roll now,

I'm talkin' 'bout the good times,

Well it makes no difference whether you're young or old,

All you got to do is get together and let the good times roll

— Ray Charles

Whether you measure the success of a winter in centimetres, skier visits, hotel room nights, revenue per room, tips, sales, schwag or some other personal standard, the winter of 2004-05 has been a disappointment. The final numbers may show that it wasn’t really as bad as it seemed in, say, the middle of the January monsoon, but neither was it as good a winter as most everyone anticipated last fall. Powder in April, spring skiing in February, record rains in January – it’s left everyone confused.

And it comes after three successive winters where business was negatively affected by a series of events unanticipated and/or beyond our control: terrorist attacks, war, SARS, a rising Canadian dollar, travel fears and airline failures, to name a few.

But while Whistler, collectively, may feel the need for some emotional support – at times if feels like anything that can go wrong has gone wrong – the rest of the province seems to be giddy with optimism. Banks, think tanks and economic analysts all seem to be forecasting great things ahead for British Columbia. And there are all kinds of signs to support their forecasts.

The Asia-Pacific region, once again, seems to be the future. In fact, we’re having trouble keeping up with the present. Port facilities in Vancouver and Prince Rupert are planning expansions to handle the never-ending supply of goods coming from Asia. Rail and road infrastructure to support these facilities is also being improved.

After a few months of relatively lukewarm activity, real estate in the Lower Mainland is heating up again. It hasn’t really cooled off in the last seven or eight years but it keeps finding new momentum. And international interest in B.C. real estate is extending to parts of the Interior and Vancouver Island.

The promise of oil exploration off the B.C. coast also has a lot of people excited, although that excitement is split between those in favour and those opposed to offshore drilling.

Likewise, the tourism industry has gained new prominence in the last couple of years with the provincial government’s commitment to a resort development strategy, doubling of tourism funding and investments in tourism training programs.

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