Is Whistler good for event producers? 

Basically, it depends on whom you ask

click to enlarge PHOTO BY COURTESY OF RMOW BY JOERN ROHDE - Events success? Whistler has hosted several successful events in the past, but others have flopped. Is Whistler good business for event producers?

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But that's not likely to happen. The RMOW is launching its $2.68 million dollar FE&A program this week, the bulk of which will fund free programming throughout Whistler in 2012.

The RMOW says that it's pursuing options for ticketed events but Runnals says the transition from free to ticketed will probably be challenging, given the prevailing attitude in Whistler.

Schwisberg has been making this point, albeit more aggressively, since JOMAW's flop last fall. He says the RMOW's FE&A program makes it difficult for third party event producers to hold events.

"The mayor campaigned on the principle of municipal hall not competing with private operators. What happened to that? It's out the window. Nobody said a word," Schwisberg says.

During Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden's election bid, she wrote on her website that the FE&A program "is paid for by Whistler Taxpayers but is arguably unsuccessful at fulfilling its mandate. If the Municipality decides that Whistler needs concerts and events, there are plenty of local and regional professionals who can produce these events much better than the RMOW can, and at lower cost."

The mayor now defends the FE&A program, admitting that she's a reformed skeptic now that policy framework and oversight committees have been established.

She says that she does not believe that FE&A or the RMOW is competing with third party event producers wanting to do business in Whistler.

"The municipality is not actually producing any of these events," she says. "They're simply facilitating them and retaining private businesses to assist to produce the actual event."

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