Will four years make a difference? 

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If there's an elephant in the Council Chambers these days, it's not trying to figure out which way the wind will blow on the controversial bylaw amendment to ban boat sleepovers.

Although to be fair, after the passionate pleas from local boat owners, complete with a show and tell on sewage disposal at last week's public hearing, that's going to be an interesting decision.

But that's not the elephant.

That thing we're not talking about but everyone is wondering about is: what will the council table look like six short months from now, after Whistler, and the rest of B.C., heads to the polls on Nov. 15.

Who's going to run? Who's going to seek another term? What's going to happen when you add fresh meat to this mix? This wonderfully strange, copasetic team that has yet to break ranks, has yet to even vote out of turn, save one or two lone hands raised out of hundreds, if not thousands, of votes, these last two and a half years.

Hard to believe that three years have almost come and gone and here we are again on the precipice of change.

With two councillors to date confirming they will not seek a second term — Jayson Faulkner and Duane Jackson — the stage is set for a little shake-up.

That seven-strong consensus dynamic that has been built over the past term has every potential of disappearing.

The door is open, just a crack, for new blood.

But here's the question: will it be young blood?

Though council has tried to make it more appealing for young people to seek election with the new parental policy, it's going to be more difficult than ever to entice the younger demographic to the council table thanks to new legislation in the works making the council term four years not three.

And that's a problem in Whistler.

According to data from the 2011 census, Whistler's median age is 32.4.

That's almost a whopping decade less than the national average at 40.6, and even more disparity than the provincial average at 41.9.

If you don't think that's important, consider: what were you worried about when you were 32?

Despite Whistler's efforts, the legislation for a four-year election cycle is moving forward with the idea that the longer terms will give local governments more time to consult, to plan, to achieve community goals.

What would have happened, say, if the last council had one more year to get things done? Would one more year have made a difference come election time?

A glance back through the annals of Pique offers more than just a quick trip down memory lane.

The last issue in May 2011 had no fewer than four letters to the editor about pay parking in the day lots — an issue that is as yet unresolved to the satisfaction of some but does not dominate the headlines. In fact, it gets barely a whisper.

Check out the other headlines in that paper:

• "Hydrogen fleet more reliable."

• "Tourism Whistler to focus on growing all-season appeal."

• "Peaceful May long weekend for RCMP."

Talk about change.

In the last three years, the hydrogen fleet, which three years ago was seeing improvements in the bus performances after a bumpy start, no longer exists. The five-year pilot project, tested in Whistler, is history and Whistler is now back to clean diesel buses.

Tourism Whistler, meanwhile, reported an 8 per cent decline in room nights in the post-Olympic winter season but expected to see a one per cent rise in summer nights; last year Tourism Whistler reported its strongest summer on record.

And as for the May long weekend in the last few years... well, it needs no introduction. "Peaceful" in 2011 with the typical drunk and disorderlies; violent in 2013 and 2014.

Things can change on a dime. And no one knows that more than Whistler — subject to so many outside influences beyond its control.

Still, it remains to be seen if four years is going to turn off potential young politicians or not.

With less than six months to go, and silly season just around the corner, it's time to be thinking if you're up for the challenge, ready to give four years of time and energy and passion and worry to shaping the future of Whistler.A worthy job, for sure.

It'll be interesting to see who's up to the challenge and, ultimately, how that will change public debate and decision making going forward.



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