Guess Who's Coming to Council? 

Whistler and Pemberton's election candidates in their own words

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The all-candidates meetings are over, the campaign trails have reached their destination and all that's left to do now is send six people to council.

Before you vote on Oct. 20, take one more chance to hear from the candidates in their own words.

Pique sent each candidate three questions and roughly 400 words to answer them as they saw fit. The candidates' submissions, which have been lightly edited for grammar and formatting, are organized in random order.

In Whistler, Jack Crompton will be acclaimed as mayor, as will school trustees Cynthia Higgins and Rachael Lythe.

Read on for the candidate responses, then head to the Whistler Conference Centre on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to cast a ballot.

Head to www.piquenewsmagazine.com for complete election coverage.

 

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Miroslav Kolvek

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

Whistler is home for me, my wife Dana, and our four children: David, Barbara, Sarah, and Simona. I own and operate two small businesses in town. By profession, I am a metallurgical engineer and entrepreneur. I completed my Masters in Engineering and Political Science in 1986, and I can speak eight languages.

My customers and friends call me a people person. Growing up, it was always my dream to immigrate to North America, and I made that dream come true. I arrived in the United States in 1989 and two years later, I started my first company. Since 1997, when my family and I moved to Canada, I have created several businesses. My family and I have moved around a lot, but no place was as captivating as Whistler. Only five weeks after our first visit to Whistler, we moved here.

When I decided to run for council, my daughter asked me why. My answer was simple: so we no longer spend $7 million on a bus shelter. In the last few years, I have seen a lack of transparency, mismanagement and misuse of taxpayers' money. I have the education, business knowledge, international experience, and the vision for Whistler that makes me capable to be your councilor.

There needs to be an accountable and honest government with fiscal responsibility, responsive and transparent decision-making and rational and flexible future planning. I would like to see community involvement in solving community problems. We need to help developers build affordable housing.

We need improved and greener infrastructure: transportation, energy, communication, recycling and waste management. We need to help small businesses succeed and help schools educate our children for success in life, and more daycare and preschool opportunities.

We need to support our local RCMP, fire department, the municipal workers, Tourism Whistler, Chamber of Commerce, art council, and all the other branches vital to Whistler's prominence.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

I would consider my time as a councillor a success if I were to accomplish these three things: A) no more paid parking for locals. B) A resort-wide ban of single-use plastic bags e.g. Santa Barbara and L.A. [Editor's Note: The entire state of California voted to ban single-use bags in most stores in 2016, the first state to do so.] C) An overhaul of the Whistler Housing Authority.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

I would support a discussion. However, the housing issue needs to be attacked from all sides, starting with consequences for Whistler Housing Authority abuses.

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Gord Annand

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

My work experience is rooted in entrepreneurship, with a background in sales and marketing. I have chaired my strata since 2004 and have considerable board experience in the not-for-profit sector, including the NWCTA (North West Commercial Travellers' Association), BCMAC (BC Men's Apparel Club), and more recently the Whistler Public Library (WPL). My volunteer commitment has earned me a Civic Service Award from the RMOW (Resort Municipality of Whistler) in 2014 and a Governor General of Canada Sovereign's Medal Award for Volunteers in 2017.

2. What are the top three things you would like to accomplish if elected?

Working collaboratively with fellow elected officials and staff, I would like to see the following: Rental and affordable, single-family market housing. The solutions are complex and the loss of the WDC (Whistler Development Corporation) board added to the complexities.

Two things I would like to see considered are: The resurrection of the WDC (board) in some form to work alongside the WHA (Whistler Housing Authority), and mayor and staff continuing the work currently being done.

Develop a short-term (10-year) plan and a longer-term (20-year) plan on housing. It is far easier to be proactive than it is to be reactive. If solutions are not found and implemented, particularly to the single-family, market-housing issue, we will continue to lose community members, have difficulty attracting families, and economic development will be stymied.

Preserve and build quality of life. Endless amounts of money have been successfully spent to attract tourists. We now need to spend time and money to support us—the taxpayer.

A) I would like to see additional financial support for our non-profits. Organizations such as WCSS (Whistler Community Services Society), AWARE (Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment), Arts Whistler, MAC (Mature Action Community), and the WPL, to name a few, all play an integral part in making a robust, well-rounded community and it is imperative they get the resources they need.

B) Stay invested and reinvest in community assets such as parks, trail systems and recreation assets. Ensure that facilities such as the Whistler Racquet Club are maintained and expanded to include all racquet sports and a multi-functional facility for family recreation and leisure.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

Absolutely not. Our current challenges are the result of living in a very successful resort community. These issues can and need to be addressed prior to looking at additional growth. Understanding our capacities and how to manage them are critical to the quality of life of the Whistler taxpayer.

 

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Dawn Titus

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I am a long-term resident who arrived in Whistler in 1983 with newborn twin sons. I attended Queens University in Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts (biology), a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and a Bachelor of Education degree. My community involvement includes volunteering to help build the first daycare in Whistler, advocating for a community park in Tapley's Farm, organizing and directing children's running and triathlon events and Terry Fox runs, as well as coaching soccer. During my 25 years as an educator, I played a big role in supporting and guiding the youth of our community. I continue to be active teaching yoga at local studios. I became engaged in local politics last spring with concerns about municipal spending, specifically the multimillion dollar turf field project.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

The No. 1 area for action, as noted in the 2016 Vital Signs report by 75 per cent of respondents, is housing—affordable housing. From WCSS' (the Whistler Community Service Society's) executive director Jackie Dickinson: "Housing is a fundamental human right. If we cannot house our population in a safe way, we pay the price." (Pique, Sept. 26, 2018.) Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2 has land for that purpose. I feel that there should be duplexes or triplexes integrated into the first build there to provide opportunities for families on the WHA (Whistler Housing Authority) waitlist to purchase a home, not just rent. The private project on Nancy Green Drive "nails" many objectives of providing rentals within walking distance of the village. Clarity is needed on the affordability aspect. "Stable housing creates a platform for people to thrive in their lives:" Former WCSS executive director Cheryl Skribe. (Pique, Oct. 12, 2017.)

Secondly, and equally important, is working with staff on attaining a BALANCE between any future growth and "livability" in Whistler. We are stressed by traffic, crowds, and over-use of our lakes and parks. The OCP review in 1989 recognized that "continued growth would ultimately destroy Whistler's social fabric and the area's natural ecology." I feel we are truly experiencing that erosion now and need to prioritize stepping back and regaining balance in our community. Providing support for struggling locals is critical here; I'd like to see a parking pass (six hours a week) made available for residents.

Lastly, make the single-use plastic ban happen. Climate change-conscious residents and visitors alike understand and would support this. With a zero-waste goal, this is self-explanatory. Let's go further: "No plastic grass" in Whistler!

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

I would not support a discussion about raising the bed-unit cap. The community feels the impacts now of being at 90-per-cent of buildout. Check out the 2018 Vital Signs report for current challenges in our community.

Vote for Dawn. #LocalsFirst.

 

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Duane Jackson

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

Tracy and I have raised three children in Whistler. We have faced many of the challenges that young families face today. Over the last 27 years, we have experienced the compassion and generosity our community shares and acknowledge the incredible contribution of our volunteers.

I'm running in this election to contribute my skills and experience to address the challenges we face today, and in the near future. My background in design, planning, finance, and construction gives me a unique skillset to consider and address our immediate housing needs. My years on the WHA (Whistler Housing Authority) and WDC (Whistler Development Corporation) boards provides historical and practical knowledge on how best to deliver quality, affordable housing. Housing that reflects the diversity of needs, and aspirations, of our existing and future population; Housing that is easily accommodated within our existing bed cap.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

In many respects, Whistler is at capacity. Capital improvements and redevelopment of our existing infrastructure and real estate is a sustainable way to manage our built environment. We need innovative solutions to growth management and can't ignore the predictable pressures from the Lower Mainland as we plan for the future.

Fiscal responsibility is just as important today as it was in 2011. I'm very familiar with the RMOW budget, and working with staff to prioritize, and manage, services and capital investments. I understand the purpose of our reserve fund, and the critical role to managing it for our existing and future infrastructure needs.

Most importantly, I care about the social things that are "stressed by our success" and challenged by population growth: The lack of social services to support our youth, young families and seniors. The lack of educational capacity and diversity. The lack of recreational amenities to meet our growing demand. And clearly, the lack of employees, affordability and transportation solutions to get people where they need to go without clogging the highway.

Having sat on a very successful council from 2011 to 2014, I know what can be achieved with experienced leadership, collaboration and respectful dialogue. I also recognize the incredible wealth of knowledge available within our resort community, and the collective contribution to developing policies and plans that improve our vision for the future, and protect our natural environment and community values.

I know being a councillor is a big commitment. I'm ready for the challenge, and with your support, would be proud to serve the community again.

 

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Cathy Jewett

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I grew up in Toronto and came to Whistler in 1976 for a winter and stayed a lifetime. I started out as a liftie and worked towards becoming a patroller. After over 35 years, I stepped down from my patrol job and now work as the mountain safety supervisor. My two children, Max and Bryn, grew up in Whistler. Bryn still lives and works here and Max gets up almost every weekend for skiing and biking. 

In my spare time, I mountain bike, ski tour, read for fun and volunteer. I am a founding member of AWARE and its first director of recycling; a WORCA (Whistler Off Road Cycling Association) volunteer; a Myrtle Philip Community School PAC (Parent Advisory Council) chair; I was the School District 48 PAC chair for six years; on the board of directors for the BC Confederation of PACs; a facilitator for the Community Foundation of Whistler's Youth Advisory Committee; a docent at the Audain Art Museum; and the current chair of Communities That Care Whistler. I was elected to Whistler council in 2017 and served on the Transportation Advisory Group, the Forest Wildland Advisory Committee, the HR Advisory Committee, the May Long Weekend Advisory Committee, and was the council appointee to the boards of AWARE, WCSS, and the library.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

A) Improve public engagement.

B) Build on resident-restricted housing initiatives, affordability and quality of life for local residents.

C) Work on improving environmental results targeted through Whistler's Community Energy and Climate Action Plan.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

A major component of my platform is public engagement.  I would definitely support community discussion on this topic.  My hope is that we can accomplish engaging residents of all ages in these discussions, and on other important topics.

We are already raising the cap for resident-restricted housing. Our OCP only allows us to raise the cap for extraordinary community benefit. Without the context of what the benefit is and what we have to give up to receive the benefit, a simple yes or no won't do. Our community is telling us that we have to find a balance and improve their quality of life. Engaging the community is an important step forward in achieving balance with actions recommended through consultation with residents.  

 

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Steve Andrews

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

My main experience is seeing this town develop over 30 years and watching the transition from obscurity to worldwide attention, and the subsequent stench of greed that has consumed the tourism and real-estate industries. Financial success in itself is not bad, but the well-being of the community has suffered, and we are in desperate need of putting priorities back to a thriving community.

I have owned two local businesses, one in tourism and one in internet marketing. Before that, I'd worked the gamut of frontline jobs, from taxi and trail building to coaching kids, guiding and construction. I've endured through the tenure application process for commercial recreation, which deals with multiple branches of provincial government, as well as First Nations' councils. As a business owner, I've had to take leadership on several fronts, sometimes sacrificing time and money to ensure employees and subcontractors got paid on time.

I survived the housing crisis, when it took me two years of looking to find a steady place of residence after sublets and bad situations. So I know how dire it really is out there, even for well-connected long-term locals.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

A) A focus back on the environment. Whistler has an opportunity to be a world leader in 21st-century policies. We were on the right track with Whistler 2020 but until now, it's been more talk than walk. We might have to sacrifice some conveniences, but in the end we will be able to set an example to the world as we have visitors coming from everywhere.

B) Putting the community above out-of-town businesses. This involves more funding for grassroots events, trail development, arts funding and more through RMI (Resort Municipality Initiative) dollars. We need to open up the tourism economy more to locals. This could include more markets, art performance and installations, and even fostering a "Made-in-Whistler" souvenir program that encourages visitors to buy local goods instead of imported cheap goods from China and other parts abroad.

C) Developing a 21st-century government that is an open, two-way street of engagement. We have the perfect template via the open-source revolution. Look it up if you are unfamiliar with the concept.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

We can't raise the bed cap. We are at capacity. The only way would be if we had some sort of mass transit solution and people magically stopped driving cars; but that won't happen in four years.

 

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Lance Bright

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

Growing up here, and seeing the world, I have 50 years of perspective, especially with regard to the wildfire risk we now face. I am the son of a farmer, except my father farmed skier visits as the manager of Whistler Mountain between '67 and '77. Dinner-table talk was all around building Whistler into a world destination. It's in my blood. I now operate those businesses that my father built in the '70s. I can see what's working and what's wrong, with a powerful historical perspective.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

Wildfire risk must be reduced, and it isn't that expensive! A large fire will set us back 25 years, not only in business but in our beauty. We can find the additional $1 million per year to speed up our thinning process to a 20-year plan instead of the 40-year schedule now adopted. The "Whistler First" proposal for a dedicated, large fire-attack helicopter put forth by Stu Wild is brilliant and should be adopted. This would not only be here to fight fires but serve remote backcountry rescue for mountain bikers. The proposed commitment is the tough part—less than $1 million a year—but the cost would recoup if utilized to fight fires. Fire mitigation is not expensive; it's priceless! And our stakeholder partners must be held to do their part, WB (Whistler Blackcomb) and the CCF (Cheakamus Community Forest).

Ensure rent-able housing for the Whistler working class, and using the WHA (Whistler Housing Authority) to do that. Those buildings should be within walking distance to work and close to the village, perhaps above the day lots. If our staff don't need cars, that's a huge gift we give them. I would also endorse some private company-specific staff-housing solutions. I lived in staff housing for 10 years. We have neglected the people we need to run this resort.

Transit and the Valley Trail. We need to build an exclusive bus and bike lane/Valley Trail lane between Function and West Side Road. The Cheakamus bus needs to stay off Highway 99 and waste no time backtracking over itself. This would not only save nearly 10,000 kilometres a year but 144 minutes a day without traffic as well. For the people of the Tamarisk area, there will be no need to cross Highway 99 to catch their bus. This plan will make biking safer and enhance pedestrian safety. Someone out there is NOT going to be hit if we do this, and they will happily go about the rest of their life.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

As to growth, raising the bed cap is like buying bigger pants when one gets fatter. I would be in favour of expanding Whistler to include Wedge Woods, as they are really part of us even though outside our boundaries. The OCP lays out some pretty strong wording around expansion, which is great, but with what is happening now, growth is not the answer to our needs. Focused development on the remaining allocation is the way to move forward.

 

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Larry Falcon

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I grew up on the North Shore of Vancouver, along with my five brothers, where my ski-loving parents got us into the mountains. My first time skiing Whistler Mountain was in 1966, when the drive took four-and-a-half hours. Though I was very young, I clearly remember skiing Rainbow Resort, and Whistler Mountain, and that started my love affair, culminating in my moving here 22 years ago, skis and mountain bike in tow.

After too many business suits and multimillion dollar deals in the computer game, I decided to reset my life and started a successful business in Whistler selling editorial content to major newspapers around North America. Fortuitously, I ended up involved with the Escape Route, where I now market the gear that we all regularly use to enjoy our mountains.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

My business background enables me to bring fresh ideas, strong direction and deep passion to move our council in the direction you tell me it needs to go. You have told me to prioritize the following: solve our low-income, staff-rental crisis, fix our transportation issues, particularly the chokepoint between Function and Creekside, bring fiscal responsibility to how your tax dollars are being spent (no more fiascos like our infamous bus loop), bring Whistler back to the forefront of green initiatives by immediately banning all non-compostable, single-use plastics, and to ensure the "soul" of Whistler lives on, so we do not become another Aspen or Sun Valley, a boring playground for the wealthy.

I also believe in giving back to our community, and that is why for the past 21 summers, I have volunteered my time to run the successful Monday Night Ride program. I could not do this without my volunteer guides and the amazing local businesses that support it. But the rewards of seeing beginner riders evolve into hardcore bikers are worth every bit of my sweat and effort.

This is why I ask for your vote on Oct. 20th, so that I can dedicate my drive and dedication into ensuring that Whistler continues to be a thriving, vibrant home for all. Is that not a reward that we deserve? I strongly believe that it is!

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

Oh, and as for bed caps, I would be remiss to our locals not to support a community discussion on raising the limit. After all, councillors should be beholden to the wishes of the community.

 

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David Buzzard

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I've lived in Whistler since I was five. My family was an early investor in the Whistler Village and built the original Whistler Campground, which is where the Spruce Grove neighbourhood is now. I spent 28 years as an award-winning photojournalist, recently working for the Whistler Question newspaper, where I won nine press awards for my coverage of the Whistler community.

I started and moderated the Whistler Politico Facebook group, although I've stepped away from moderating the group, as I think it's a conflict of interest.

At heart, I'm an idealist who wants to do my best for the community.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

A) Fiscal responsibility. Between 2008 and 2011, Whistler had to increase its property taxes by 20 per cent. This was because of profligate spending on the municipality's part coming at the same time that development-permit revenue slowed considerably. The last two councils have gotten the municipal finances into very good condition as it sits now, but we can't ever take municipal finances for granted again. None of the projects we're contemplating now, such as (resident-restricted) housing in Cheakamus Crossing, would be possible if we were still in the 2008-2011 fiscal situation.

B) Expand the pool of both WHA (Whistler Housing Authority) and privately-developed, locally-restricted housing.

C) Work to settle community issues such as the Cheakamus Crossing DES (District Energy System) problems, find a permanent home for the Whistler Museum, expand daycare spots, and complete the Highway 99 expansion into the village from Function Junction, etc.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

With our current issues with overtourism, I believe that the majority of Whistlerites do not want to see the bed-unit cap increased for commercial or market development unless it's an extraordinary situation. For example, if a developer wants to build a resort and doesn't have the bed units, then I would be opposed to that. However, as in the case of the Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2 development, where the development costs could be over $20 million, the municipality could make a small percentage of the development market housing, which would require an increase in market bed units, and then use the funds from the sales of those market units to offset the development costs that the municipality would have otherwise had to finance by itself. That way the municipality wouldn't have to fund the entire cost of the development, possibly in the tens of millions of dollars, by itself.

 

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Arthur De Jong

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I would bring four decades of community involvement, environmental stewardship and planning expertise to a role on council. I ran ski patrol and mountain operations before my current role as planner at WB (Whistler Blackcomb). I work internationally with the UN, the Center for Responsible Travel in Washington, D.C., and other agencies on strategies for climate change, overtourism and land conservation. I presently volunteer on five community groups in all sectors, from the arts to the management of our natural environment. I am also the longest serving volunteer at the Vancouver Crisis Centre. My focus locally has been to continue to build partnerships that add value to the community, steward the natural environment, and provide long-term solutions for issues such as housing and affordability.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

A) Provide the right balance of resident-restricted and employee housing within structured criteria on available land, which will help address affordability and labour shortages.

B) We must continue to step up our environmental initiatives to maintain our position as a world leader. We must also be a model for the industry worldwide. My expertise is integrating environmental strategies that also work economically.

C) Whistler has one of the highest wildfire risks in British Columbia. The RMOW, along with the community, has put significant efforts towards fuel reduction this year. We must remove more fuel load quickly to push back a catastrophic threat.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

We are a victim of our own success, with key infrastructure exceeding comfortable carrying capacity. We must operate more efficiently with what we have instead of building more, except where we have current shortfalls, such as employee housing. I believe a community discussion around bed cap would be very helpful. I do not want to saddle the community with debt due to employee housing. Debt avoidance with housing can only be achieved with some market housing to offset costs. Is our community supportive of that?

Whistler's quality of community life and our reputation as the most successful mountain resort in the world is at a crossroads. Overtourism is very real here and being branded as the resort that got too busy is a real threat. We can do little to impact external forces driving demographics and growth in the Pacific Northwest, but we can manage our own actions. It is not about more bed units (with the exception of employee housing), but improving current systems and infrastructure to accommodate a better experience for both resident and guest.

 

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John Grills

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I have proudly served two terms on council and I am seeking your support for a third term. I have been involved in this community since the mid-'70s, spending the majority of my working career in the food and beverage sector. My wife of 31 years, Lorraine, continues to work as a physiotherapist. We were blessed with three kids who are all now young adults. I also sit on two strata councils representing the commercial sections. In my spare time, I like to get on a bike, do water sports, ski and play hockey.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

Looking towards the next term, the immediate goals would be to complete the work necessary to give our 2018 OCP second and third readings. The OCP would then be sent to the province for approval and at that time, the municipality would request the removal of the requirement for future ministerial approval. I have been a part of the municipal negotiating team. Continuity on this file is critical. My presence moving forward will deliver that continuity.

Employee housing. I sat on the Mayor's Task Force on Resident Housing, and the plan has been adopted; it now needs to be implemented, I will make this my highest priority to keep this work on track and deliver the units. It may be possible for some of these projects to be fast-tracked, but it is imperative the details are all covered. The housing constructed must be occupied by the workers that allow this resort to function, and the covenants placed on the private-sector projects are ironclad.

Strategic planning. The new council will spend two days in December setting the course for 2019. It is crucial for the council to provide clear goals and precise direction for the municipal staff and the community. My two terms of experience will be a valuable asset in this exercise.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

Whistler is in control of the bed cap. It will not be raised unless there is extraordinary community benefit. The Prism lands deal currently being processed is a very good example. The community receives 99 acres (40 hectares) with many benefits, while the landowner retains nine acres (3.6 ha.) and receives 24 bed units.

As a councillor, I come prepared, offer a balanced and informed opinion, and I feel I have shown to conduct myself in a professional and respectful manner. I would very much appreciate your vote in this election.

 

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Brian Reid

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I moved here in 1992 and love this valley and its community spirit. In the past 17 years, I have been with WRM Strata Management and am now the agent operations manager. I run a portfolio of 12 properties of my own and oversee the company's 200-plus properties, assisting the other agents of our firm. I engage with the strata's long- and short-term planning, budget development, financial reporting and project implementation. I work collaboratively with owners and the councils to ensure that the end product for the strata corporation is one that is acceptable by the ownership. Most importantly, I work to keep all items on time and on budget.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

A) Housing. I want to continue to work with the WHA to produce the housing project outlined for Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2. I would like to advocate for more ownership product in this mix as the vast majority of the proposal is for rental housing. I also feel that local private developers should be involved in the opportunity to bid on this project, as they have great experience, innovative ideas and want to leave a great product that they are proud to have their name associated with. I would also advocate for the private developer infill housing projects that come to council, should they make sense for the community and the proposed location.

B) Whistler Tennis Club development. I would like to see the continued work for the proposed tennis club development. The proposal for a community gathering space in the heart of the valley would be an incredible addition to the community. The infill for the potential of both market and restricted housing would also provide additional bed units for the community and that land that has been sitting vacant for all these years would finally be a benefit for the community.

Transit. I want to continue to work to develop the plans for our transit issue and work with the Transportation Advisory Group to implement the recommendations they have put forward to staff and council. This is a very important piece of our local puzzle.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

At this time, I would not support an increase in the bed cap, but would be open to discussions in the future. As the world population grows, so will the desire to live in areas like Whistler, so these discussions can be held and decisions based on these discussions.

 

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Janice Lloyd

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

Preserve the kind soul of Whistler!

Stewardship and experience are some of the strengths I bring to the table.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

There are some remarkable gaps between contracts issued for projects that supposedly benefit the municipality and the final costs that are paid for by the taxpayers of Whistler. This area of municipal business should be better managed. A distribution of the now overspent money might have been applied to projects that could have funded transportation initiatives, childcare or a community centre abutting one of our present facilities.

Afterschool care for the children of working parents is key to the long-term viability of our growing family demographic. I would like to see us explore the use or introduction of modular units around the schools of Whistler where there is safety, other siblings may be attending this same learning facility and ample drop-off and pick-up areas are available. Scheduled volunteers with experience and certifications under the supervision of learning professionals might be used to advantage in this scenario.

Whistler needs a rental board that works in conjunction with the Whistler Community Services Society to control rents that are outside of the Whistler Housing Authority jurisdiction. This would be something that looks like a rental registry for the municipality. A municipal vehicle that keeps record of rentals, keeping rents realistically affordable, especially for low-income or retired workers, is needed. The provincially run Residential Tenancy Branch model does not necessarily control loopholes that allow rents to be doubled and tripled in some cases, and should be monitored. When an older home is sold and demolished then replaced by a giant house that is occupied for only a few weeks a year, displacing renters who are paying reasonable rent, a system should be in place to reposition these renters in our community. Our municipal government is on the doorstep of these situations and must be innovative and creative, within legal boundaries, to assist in rental displacement situations.

I advocate for seniors in Whistler. All seniors—within and without wealthy stratas that have a respectable fixed income. Presently, I am working with a not-for-profit that is holding a fundraiser for a hospice facility in Squamish. I am on the board of directors for the Mature Action Community Society. I do much more! I have attended every council meeting for the past 12 months, except two.

Fairness, affordability, viability—with a sprinkle of kindness—is important to the soul of our community.

 

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Ralph Forsyth

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I am former councillor (2005 to 2011), with plenty of political experience; a ski instructor and entrepreneur (Peak Vending Corp.); a writer, with 12-plus features for Pique Newsmagazine between 2004 and 2012, and columnist for the Whistler Question's Off the Record column. I have served on 12-plus local boards and committees. I'm married, with two teenage boys.

Please visit www.ralphforsyth.com.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

A) Satisfy the demand for affordable housing. Specifically, by adopting the following three policies: First, prioritize infill housing and expand it throughout the resort. I support infill housing because it helps reverse the gentrification of our neighbourhoods, and it would add more affordable housing to Whistler's inventory, add increased property tax revenue without increasing our development footprint, and it would keep more Whistler families in Whistler. Second, develop Cheakamus Crossing. The plan for Cheakamus Crossing was always to develop it further with a mix of market and employee housing and a mix of product types from single-family to apartments. The site is zoned, serviced and ready to build on, all we need to do is take action! [Editor's Note: A portion of the lands earmarked for development in Cheakamus Crossing is equipped for municipal services, while another portion of the lands would require site servicing.] Finally, rezoning properties for higher density in existing neighbourhoods encourages redevelopment in those neighbourhoods. Another simple method would be to allow businesses to occupy (via rezoning and renovation) property in commercial or mixed-use zones. Soaring house prices and rock-bottom vacancy rates aren't an inevitable consequence of success, but proper planning and appropriate policies will ensure future success.

B) Re-visit Whistler 2020. We used to have meetings with community members focused around the Whistler 2020 indicators. I found them quite helpful when we were developing policy. Inviting community members to review indicator progress toward the new vision in the new OCP will not only engage the community, but also provide excellent policy advice to council.

C) Satisfy demand for daycare, specifically the shortage of teachers. This requires a tremendous amount of lobbying of the federal and provincial governments to develop national certification criteria that would allow daycare teachers the ability to work anywhere in Canada.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

No, we shouldn't need to raise the bed cap. The math is simple; the cap is 61,513 and we have 54,653 developed units (with a "completed" building permit) and 6,861 undeveloped units (committed to by council either through rezoning or subdivision applications but have yet to be constructed or completed). That's more than enough to satisfy current demand.

 

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Ira Pettle

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

Hello Whistler (and beyond), I am Ira Pettle.

This is a perfect honour, to experience (and share) a step on the path we're walking together. "Cause' I believe in a better way"
- Ben Harper

With that, I'm not here to get you to vote for me. I'm not "in it to win it." My mission is simply to share my voice with you (my community, and my world), while simultaneously serving to help create a safe space for you to share your voice back. I serve to create a transformed dialogue, and bridge divides, creating heart-centred community and regenerating love. This community is pure magic, notwithstanding the challenges set before us. So I declare: Welcome, with all the fear and love that's driving this train. Let's do this, Whistler.

There is now another NEXT opportunity, a possibility, for us to come together, transform again, and create the Whistler of our collective dreams. With that, I implore you to please consider the many millions of needs and wants we share, entwined in this valley, and on the mountains, too; it's a miracle of a tapestry that requires tender maintenance. We all just want to be heard, and we can be, with more open dialogue and spaces to heal, confronting the darkness and letting in the light. Whistler, can you feel me?

Our "system" is not optimizing and the proof is in the people. With that, I'll declare: I can be better. I have much to learn as this adventure continues. And as it does, I'll hold you in my heart. We share this boat, and our community is its rudder.

I have pledged to spend $0 while attempting to bring more awareness to this vision. This is a word-of-mouth, grassroots-initiative, "campaign" experience. I'm holding to the intention that the people can (and will) choose, and however it goes, I'm forever uplifted. Over the last three weeks, I have met so many wonderful people and had so many great sharing sessions. I sincerely hope I get to meet you all. Irapettle@hotmail.com. Please reach out.

I lead by example, consistently striving to elevate my level of service to this community. I am a believer that everyone has the universal right to peace, inclusive of the work it takes to achieve it. With its ups and downs, missteps and grand slams, we are all in this together. Kindly, Ira.

 

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Jeff Murl

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

After a career in finance, I became an entrepreneur and designed, built and operated three restaurants where I learned to navigate local and provincial government. Now, as an accountant, working with small businesses, I help people achieve their vision by navigating roadblocks and acting on opportunities (to help them) on their way to finding success by doing the part of business few people care to do, but everyone knows is critical: the finances. I have my own practice, which allows me time to focus on my clients as well as my family (expecting our firstborn any day now) and finding balance in my life.

Along with teaching skiing in Whistler for 15 years, I've dedicated part of my time to learning good governance through my education, training courses, and serving on a strata, multiple boards, and a citizens' committee. Through these experiences, I've learned how to build relationships, collaborate, build a consensus, find long-term solutions that can be effectively implemented, while working within the financial, ecological and social principles I seek to maintain.

I patiently collect facts, data and opinions to help me process and analyze a problem and apply critical thinking. I appreciate logical, factual and well researched arguments, because I know my opinions were formed that way. People should know I'm going to be financially and ethically responsible, which is why we need an accountant on council and local committees. I can ensure the financials are in order, budgets are in line and allow other council members to play to their strengths. I've been patient, taken the time to learn, created or sought out opportunities and stepped up when they came up!

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

A) Work to ensure fiscal responsibility on projects, budgets and future plans, and effectively consult and communicate those financial decisions with the electorate.

B) Collaborate to innovate and create new financial tools to fund and pay for Whistler to be a global leader in environmental resource management and sustainability.

C) Only look to grow the community when the required infrastructure and services are effectively planned, or in place, not after.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

I will always support a discussion in the future because that's how we generate ideas and engagement, but I believe we have not done enough to provide for the growth that has happened in the past. So, at this moment it wouldn't seem prudent to support more growth.

 

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Jen Ford

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I am a mom and wife raising a young son. I am a proud advocate for local daycares, kids programming, and a protector of playgrounds for all ages.

I'm a 16-year resident employee of Whistler. I've rented nine different places until finally purchasing a WHA (Whistler Housing Authority) home last year. I understand the real struggles of securing housing.

As a sitting member of council, a director at the SLRD (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District), and a newly elected director at the Union of BC Municipalities, I know how to negotiate on behalf of our community.

 2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

Continue work on childcare initiatives, affordable housing, and healthcare with the province and federal government.

Regional transit will make commuting possible for our neighbouring communities for work and play. The new pilot route (10 Valley Connector) will make it convenient for those living in Emerald to get to Function efficiently. Transit that is reliable and frequent will help us make significant improvements towards our goals of lowered GHGs (Greenhouse Gases).

Bold commitments to zero-waste and to curbing our dependence on fossil fuels so that we can meet our CECAP (Community Energy and Climate Action Plan) targets of climate change and lowered energy consumption.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

There is some confusion about the bed cap, but we have not reached buildout of the current bed cap. [Editor's Note: The community's current bed-cap sits at 90-per-cent buildout.] I feel that we have an abundance of zoned tourist accommodation, from hostels, hotels, to luxury homes. I would not support raising the bed cap for more tourist beds. I have been firmly in favour of creating new resident-restricted homes, both rental and ownership, and know that this will be top priority for the next council.

We need an Advisory Planning Commission. This would be an independent group with expertise in long-range planning. At this point in time, through our consultation with the OCP discussions, the community has said that we do not want further growth in visitation without some serious consideration of right-sizing our economy. How many hotel rooms, how many skier visits, how many restaurants and how many staff does Whistler need to run optimally so that the guest experience is excellent? How many staff do we need to achieve these goals, and what are we willing to do to get there? I look forward to working on this for the next four years because this community is worth fighting for!

 

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Tova Jamernik

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

In 1989, I began coming to Whistler and have been in love with it ever since.  Before and during university, I came up several times to work here, including for WB (Whistler Blackcomb), teaching skiing at age 16.

After studying political science and commerce at UBC (the University of British Columbia), I became a career workshop facilitator for seven years at WorkBC, facilitating workshops on job search, networking, workplace skills, and career exploration.

I decided to return to Whistler, which was always my "happy place," but was shocked by what I saw: $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom place and $1,300 for a room in a house with four-plus bedrooms. Many locals are working three to four jobs, working 14-hour days to get by.

How does that work when you have children and there's a two- to three-year waitlist for childcare? I spoke with a private centre that can only afford to pay ECE's (Early Childhood Educators) $20 an hour, and it's still not enough to live here with the rents being so high and the lack of availability and affordability. What would the economy, and workers' and employers' wellbeing and finances be like if those parents—many of them single— could work full time, if they so chose? 

 2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

Ambitious yet reasonable, I propose exploring a large staff-housing complex over the day lots, as well as supporting 'shovel-ready' projects in Cheakamus that are already planned and on the way. The day lots are owned by the municipality and managed by the municipality and Vail Resorts to provide the best outcomes and use of the town's tourism amenities and mountains. It is now evident that the staffing is directly impacting businesses (tourism) and the well-being of employers and employees.

I would like to see a mental-health-task-force committee set up, which, despite being a provincial responsibility (as is childcare), can also be initiated at the local level in Whistler, as it is an escalating problem right now.

Visit the Facebook Page, Tova For Whistler, for more information on my environmental, childcare, and transportation initiatives.

 

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Melanie Tardif

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

Born in Ottawa and raised in the Laurentians, Que., I've always had an affinity for the natural world. It wasn't until, at 14, I vacationed to Maui that I realized my true calling. I saw these fascinating, colourful rainbow eucalyptus trees and thought I was hallucinating! These trees inspired me to study ecology, which led me down a path in conservation.

After an exciting volunteer opportunity at Whistler's BioBlitz, I joined the Whistler Naturalists in 2010. Ever since then I have been highly engaged in the Whistler community. I served as a director on the board of AWARE not long after, and am now president. My volunteer commitments have allowed me to gain proficiency in governance and fiscal responsibility. I am deeply passionate about snowboarding. You can find me in the alpine shredding gnarly lines or in the deep powder. It was the reason why I came out West, along with the gorgeous coastal temperate rainforest and the down-to-earth people here.

When I attained my dream job as a park ranger for Alberta Parks, I knew my ultimate mission in life was to preserve and safeguard the land and fragile ecosystems. While appointed as a peace officer, I gained important competencies, such as interpersonal skills, accountability and integrity, all of which I believe to be a significant asset for council. I'm hard working and a dedicated team player and, despite being new to politics, I bring lots of experience and fresh eyes.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

As a young female representing the working class, I want to speak to a few priorities: general affordability! It's unfair that some individuals have to pay 30 to 50 per cent of their income for rent, and the cost of living is too high. Our quality of life is compromised! Working people should be able to save for the future, to potentially buy property or for retirement.

Next: overtourism! I'd like to explore the idea of a tourism carrying capacity. How many people can physically be in our town, using infrastructure, parking, in our hotels, on the mountains and in our parks? We can look to other tourist destinations and see what they are doing to balance growth and visitor numbers.

Finally, as an environmentalist, I want to see single-use disposable items phased out. Although eliminating plastics is ultimately just one drop in the ocean, we need to start somewhere. It begins with behavioural change.

 

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Nathan Hawkins

1. Please share a brief bio and any relevant experience.

I moved to Whistler in 2006 and starting working in town as a snowboard instructor living in staff housing. Now I have worked my way up in construction from a carpenter to a construction manager, so I feel with my construction background, I can help our current situation with affordable housing now. I have spent eight years on the board of directors for the WFM (Whistler Farmers' Market) and am now serving a term as the chair, providing good governance. I feel with the experience I have gained, this will help me work with the municipal staff and our new council.

2. What are the top three things you'd like to accomplish if elected?

A) Keeping Whistler, Whistler. Supporting small, local business, farmers and artisans, helping them flourish. When our small businesses are successful, we are successful.

B) Maintain affordable living, such as housing, food, utilities and transport, daycare and family services.

C) Ensure the infrastructure growth of this town is decided upon in a fiscally responsible way. My construction background ensures my decisions in this area are from an experienced position.

3. Would you support a community discussion about raising the bed-unit cap to accommodate more development and growth? Why or why not?

Yes, I believe that community discussions are an integral part of moving towards the future of Whistler. Understanding what the community wants is vital to ensuring we as council members are advocating for the community.

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