Whistler uses UBCM to pitch for financial tools 

The provincial government needs more information from Whistler before giving the resort financial tools.

That was the message from last week’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual convention.

"I left with a clearer understanding of what the ministers needed to move forward with the financial tools and that we’ve got the ability to now follow up with meetings and gather the information that they require to work together," said Councillor Marianne Wade this week.

Wade was representing Whistler as Acting Mayor at the UBCM. Councillor Ken Melamed joined her and together they met with five provincial ministers, specifically to lobby them for financial tools.

Those tools, which essentially amount to getting more money from the provincial government, were promised to Whistler during the Olympic bid phase.

Whistler is looking to get more of a cut of the 10 per cent hotel tax, collected by the province on hotel rooms. Whistler currently gets two per cent of that tax.

Wade and Melamed described the meetings as "speed dating" – 15 minutes with each minister to plead their case.

Among the ministers they met were Rich Coleman, minister of forests and range, Carole Taylor, minister of finance, and Olga Ilich, minister of tourism, sports and the arts.

"It’s not that they’re not aware (of Whistler’s request for financial tools), it’s just that they need certain pieces to complete the picture and so we need to work together," said Wade.

"The big message that’s here is partnership, together understanding what both parties need and working towards achieving that goal."

Whistler needs to work with the Resort Collaborative – a group made up of resorts across the province with common issues – and give the province the definition of a resort.

They also need to present the business case for why Whistler needs financial tools.


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