Rick André 

Campaign slogan: Give Whistler back to the locals.

Age: 25

Occupation: Owner and Operator of Esquires Coffee House

Volunteerism: Still too busy in Whistler, but organized youth soccer programs in the Okanagan.

Skier, snowboarder and biker

Hobbies: Soccer, football, rugby, hockey

Web site: No Web site yet.

Last book read: A business manual for Esquires.

Why are you running for council?

I feel I’m in a perfect position to provide the community with a speaker on council. People come in here and relate problems to me all the time, and I want to be able to represent them, provide them with a voice.

It started when a friend was booted out of staff housing to make room for someone else. The housing issue has to be addressed, we have yet to put something in place for local business owners that is affordable because of our huge rents. I’ve heard of other proposal that were shot out of the water because someone else wanted bed units.

Two years ago, Vision Pacific wanted to build employee housing and half would go to the housing authority and the other half would go to employers, which would have been perfect for me, to put their own employees, and other business feel the same. The municipality, before the first reading, shut it down. It’s great that Intrawest got more staff housing for their employees, but there’s nothing out there for the rest of us. We would have had another 160, 180 bed units for staff and a couple of homes.

What are the major accomplishments/failures of council since last election?

Allowing Spring Creek to go through, and putting Vision Pacific’s plans down under after spending $20,000. Intrawest is a big company here, but they shouldn’t have all the breaks. That’s what’s happened in Aspen and Vail, and they’ve had to build outside communities for their employees to sustain the resort.

The opportunity to host the Olympics is great, it will really put Whistler on the international stage.

I’m also concerned that council has built so much Valley Trail without lights; there are other small issues like that.

Affordability is a problem. Business owners and locals are being forced to move because of high rents. I have neighbours that want to retire here, but the only way they can retire is to sell out and move to another community – people that have been here 20 to 25 years, back when Whistler was just a twinkle in anyone’s eye. More should be done to keep these people here.

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