Maxed Out 

All those opposed: good luck

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Time is money. Or haste makes waste. Pay your money; take your choice of homespun wisdom.

There was spontaneous applause by a dozen or so disparate – perhaps desperate – Whistleratics at Millennium Place Monday night when councillor Nancy wrapped up her objections to the course council was about to embark upon by saying it was neither fair nor democratic. We – yes, sad to say I was so taken by her eloquent, and lone, statement of the obvious I too clapped my notebook – were quickly admonished by Mayor Kenny to cease our totally inappropriate show of support. It’s neither right nor fair to turn the individual utterances of councillors into a, what was it again, a popularity contest?

There wasn’t much risk of that. No one else said anything even remotely popular.

The issue at hand was the mechanism by which Whistler’s council would elicit a show of approval, or more accurately, disapproval from the public they so achingly told us – was it just last November? – they wanted not only to serve but wanted to serve by transforming council into a more open, more transparent, yea my good fellows, more democratic body. Money 0: Mouth 1.

It all would have been so easy to do. The choice was right there within their reach. Behind door number one was something euphemistically called the Alternative Approval Process. Since Alternative Approval Process is both long to say and long to type, let’s just call it the Bad Choice. I think the first hint of its badness is right in the name. Alternative. As in alternative to, perhaps, the democratic choice.

Which lived behind door number two. A simple yes or no referendum. A vote. The cornerstone of the democratic process. Let’s call it, oh, how about the Right Choice.

The issue requiring council to choose between the Bad Choice and the Right Choice was the proposal to enter a Partnering Agreement with one of four bidders, each being paid a hundred large, to bid on the chance to design, build and operate the sewage treatment plant expansion so necessary to ensure nothing our guests leave behind hits the fan.

Specifically, council proposes to award the DBO – design, build, operate – contract for an amount not to exceed $58 million and a term of 12 years. Because it would be a contract to an outside party for a term in excess of five years, council needs to get the assent of the voters to enter into the contract.

Of course, there isn’t really a contract… not yet. None of the companies being paid to bid on the contract want to actually submit a contract for approval. They’re afraid they’ll go to the time and expense – apparently greater than the $100,000 they’re already collecting – of drawing up a contract only to have the public disapprove it. So we’re approving any contract they may come up with, up to $58 million, assuming one is forthcoming when all this is over. Got that? Yes, it is a bit unusual.

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