November 11, 2005 Features & Images » Feature Story

Stacy Kohut, candidate for mayor. 

‘I want to make things work’

Name: Stacy Kohut

Age: 35

Occupation: Man of Action

Last book read: Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps, by Fergus Fleming.

Music: Johnny Cash.

Favourite recreational pursuits: Riding.

1. Why are you running for mayor?

I’m running for mayor because, in a lot of ways, at 35 years of age I’m about the same age as this municipal resort.

It’s time to have someone that understands what it’s like to be 35 and feeling 35 and acting 35 running the show. I believe the next mayor of Whistler should be able to actually ride a half pipe.

2. What are the biggest issues facing Whistler?

Culture. We’re losing our culture. The economic model that we’ve been using with the transient workforce and trying to have high turnover and keep labour costs down – it’s not working anymore. Our customer service is suffering tremendously. We’re losing culture to the north and to the south. We’re not retaining a vital group of people and that’s the 25-to-35 year olds that want to get their first home and lay down some roots. They’re the ones a lot of times that have their finger on the pulse of modern youth culture.

The RMOW’s got to be the one that is the balancer and let culture flourish here because in the end the only thing that’s going to separate us apart from any other resort in this world will be our culture. So that’s a huge umbrella and think of all the things that come underneath that – housing, employment, proper training within the service industry, really becoming a global leader in the resort municipality field.

3. What needs to be done to address these issues?

We have to definitely take the power out of the hands of those that are attached to the real estate business. We have to take the power out of the hands of special interest groups.

If you want to have a town run by realtors and run by development groups, then definitely, go ahead, vote those people into office. If you want a place that’s culture based and reality based and has some authenticity to compete on the world stage in the resort market, then let’s look at people who take a little bit more of a holistic look at what this is.

In a lot of ways we need people that don’t have strings attached, that don’t have special agendas, that don’t have pressure from friends or other business groups to go one way or another on certain issues. I believe that’s me, and a lot of other people like me.

We have to realize that the leader of this resort municipality for the 21 st century should be someone that really understands the essence of what this place is about. And the essence of this place is fun. It’s man meeting nature for recreational purposes which equals fun in a lot of people’s minds.

4. How will Whistler 2020 help us?

I do have a question right off the bat. I read the title of it and the goal is to become the world’s premiere resort municipality but it forgot a very important point in that title… For who? For the real estate developers? For the retail world? For the visitor? For the local? Who do we want to be the best for? Well, we want to be the best for those that want to come visit us and we want to be the best for the locals. And if we can find a balance between that we’re happy.

5. Name three things you expect to accomplish in this council’s term.

There’s a lot of pessimism in this town. It makes me want to puke. It’s disgusting. It’s gross. It’s negative. I want to get rid of that pessimism.

I want to bring some real pride too. I want people to realize that there’s no shame in being the resort municipality. There’s no shame in embracing the bohemian roots of this town. And lastly, I want to help people realize that we have a moral issue in this town to get through and the moral issue is this: are we a resort for young people or are we a resort for families?

We can’t do both. A sophisticated traveller sees through the fact that neither one is authentic. We have to pick one and be very authentic about it.

Most importantly I want to make things work… It’s my job as mayor to go in there and to get all the councillors to see and realize that they’re all on the same page and that we can move on it.

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