Former WLC Board member McDonald retires 

Wendy McDonald stepped down as chief executive officer of the family business, BC Bearings Group, last week. The 78-year-old mother to 10 children received numerous awards during her 50 years at the helm of the company but may be best remembered locally for being on the board of WLC Developments, the Crown corporation former premier Bill Bennett established to guide Whistler out of the 1983 recession.

WLC Developments took over the municipality’s few assets and multiple liabilities in 1983. The unfinished conference centre was redesigned and completed by WLC, which was chaired by Chester Johnson.

"We either turned the corner or Whistler would have been toast. That’s what it amounted to," Johnson recalled last summer.

The WLC board, including McDonald, was together for several years while the economy recovered and Whistler worked its way out of the recession. Johnson said of board members: "We did it all on our own time. All our meetings ran from probably 3 o’clock until midnight – and this went on for years. None of them got paid five cents."

Backcountry campaign underway

The Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign, which has set goals of raising national awareness about backcountry safety and avalanche risk, received a couple of boosts in the last few weeks.

Rocker Bryan Adams played a benefit concert in Cranbrook two weeks ago and additional concerts are planned in Alberta.

As well, a corporate fund-raiser in Toronto last week was deemed a success.

The Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign has been organized by the Trudeau family in memory of Michel Trudeau, who died in an avalanche in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park two years ago. The campaign hopes to raise $1 million to create greater awareness about backcountry safety, to restore the historic Slocan Chief cabin (where Michel Trudeau spent his last night) and to build a new hut in memory of Michel.

Receptions are being held across the country with business and community leaders to encourage financial contributions. The public launch of the campaign will be in Nelson, B.C. on Feb. 3.

Adams met Michel’s mother Margaret Trudeau when he was photographing influential women of Canada, a series of photos which was published in a book.

Gabi Sailer dies

Gabi Sailer, wife of Austrian skiing legend Toni Sailer, passed away last month in Austria.

The couple were married in Vancouver in the early 1970s, when Toni was running the Toni Sailer Summer Ski Camp at Whistler.

Peter Stumböck, the German tour operator who has built lodges at Revelstoke and Sun Peaks, also passed away last month.

Stumböck, who was in his early 60s, had been battling illness for the past year.

Duggan coming

Mike Duggan has resigned his position as executive director of Tourism Sun Peaks and will become general manager of Whistler’s Pan Pacific Hotel. Duggan previously worked at Silver Star.

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