Letters to the editor 

We would like to clarify the facts regarding the municipal debt to correct any misconceptions your readers may have after reading a letter to the editor in last week’s issue entitled Boom, Bust and Taxes. The statements made in that letter are not true.

All of the debt incurrd by the Whistler Housing Authority are mortgages secured by the buildings. The rental revenue generated by the housing covers the mortgage payments as well as the operating costs, administrative costs and building maintenance reserves. The properties owned by the municipality through the WHA are currently valued at $30 million and are a significant long-term benefit to the resort community.

The long-term debt of the municipality has been reduced by more than half to $4,500,934 in 2001 from $9,247,292 in 1997. This debt was incurred for construction of basic infrastructure, including water and sanitary sewer systems, most of it in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During the last 15 years, no significant new debt has been incurred by the municipality, except a loan for the renovations to the public safety building (RCMP/Fire), which was paid out in 2001.

These amounts do not include a loan for the residents’ portion of the Emerald Sewer Project, which will be repaid by the residents through a specified area tax, nor does it include the mortgages discussed above.

By the way, the proposed upgrade for the wastewater treatment plant is budgeted at $19 million, not $62 million as stated in the letter. And, the municipal commitment to Millennium Place is a $3.5 million loan guarantee to the Whistler Skiers Chapel Society, fully secured by a second mortgage on the $7.5 million building.

The five-year financial plan and the audited statements for 2001 are available on the municipal Web site, www.whistler.ca, as well as at the Whistler Public Library and municipal hall reception. The municipal finance department are pleased to answer residents’ questions. Questions should be directed to John Nelson, general manager of corporate services, at 604-935-8120 or findept@whistler.ca.

Diana Waltmann

Information Officer

Resort Municipality of Whistler

 

The Pique editorial of Oct. 25 th contains false and misleading information and the many volunteers and members of AWARE would like to set the record straight. The editor wrote that "…the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment announced at the meeting it couldn’t support the bid…"

AWARE has never supported the bid, nor has AWARE come out against the Olympic bid or its supporters for very good reasons. What we have done is recognize that should the community end up hosting events for an Olympic event, our role is to do everything we can to influence the bid process in such a way that our environment will not end up being damaged in the process. We have further stated that there is no environmental legacy whatsoever, and considering that Whistler is seen as a environmental leader we are more than a little perplexed and confused that an environmental legacy has not been concluded or even considered. Because of that oversight AWARE will be proposing an environmental legacy if the bid is successful.

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