Editorial 

Change to look forward to

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced....James Arthur Baldwin

We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles...James Earl "Jimmy" Carter Jr.

Change.

It happens to all of us.

Sometimes we go out and seek it. Other times its shimmering veil simply parts and it is upon us.

Arriving in the editor's chair at the Pique is, perhaps, a bit of both.

I was seeking a change, a new challenge, a way to continue my love affair with reporting and be close to my family.

With the 2010 Olympic Games over I had been commuting to Vancouver where I worked as a reporter for The Province newspaper - a job I held for over 20 years.

So when the discussions began around my coming back to the Pique - to which I have contributed for over a decade - it seemed the fortunes of change were with me.

But filling Bob's shoes - well, that's just not possible is it? And I can still hear Kathy's voice if I listen - pushing for the best, challenging everyone to make the Pique relevant, but not at all costs. Rather with integrity and an understanding that we are all in this together.

Her death, in a senseless traffic accident while vacationing, left a void to be sure, but her lessons live on.

Change.

Looking out from my change you can see it everywhere. Whistler is changing. The resort continues to adapt to malleable market forces. With the Canadian dollar pretty well on par with the US dollar the competition for those last minute bookings is even fiercer. How much do you cut prices before the brand itself is compromised? And with competition for marketing dollars continuing the quest to leverage the 2010 Olympic Games becomes a complicated two-step.

According to the Canadian Tourism Commission there were year-to-date increases in overnight trips registered across all CTC key markets except Mexico; travellers made 2.4 million trips to Canada in August alone, a two per cent increase over the same month in 2009. CTC-Asia Pacific and emerging markets all posted double-digit gains in August, with the strongest growth seen in Brazil (38.7 per cent), China (38 per cent) and India (35 per cent). For the first time since January 2005, there was an increase in overnight air travel to Canada from all of CTC's core markets.

But US visitors are still way down from the beginning of the decade according to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

Change is coming to British Columbia as well. Never a province to be the wallflower at the political ball, residents will not only have a new premier, but also a new leader of the opposition within three months.

This change may seem at arms length to Whistlerites, but it is noteworthy as it's an event unseen for more than 100 years.

It comes at a time when Whistler itself and its residents are taking stock.

According to a recent email I received a number of residents are part of Whistler's newly established Coalition of Concerned Citizens.

Its "...goal is to work together to hold our Municipality accountable, expose waste and acknowledge positive initiatives," states the email.

The Coalition is currently seeking the adoption of a bylaw for mail-in ballots for the next local election this November.

It is not a group interested in putting the voice of individuals forward but rather it seems to be seeking a community consensus of what is needed to help foster growth. At the risk of sounding tired, it's a "Yes we can" attitude - something that felt like the norm leading up to the 2010 Games.

It is likely that Whistler's lawmakers are in for a shake-up. Generally speaking only about 35 per cent of voters turnout to cast their ballot. In the last municipal elections turnout in Whistler was lower than Squamish or Pemberton. Some elected officials in Vancouver and Surrey are exploring the possibility of moving to online voting to boost the numbers.

But will that really boost numbers? The issue here is really that interest in municipal issue needs a boost.

That's a change worth working toward.

 

 

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