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Allan Jenner enters council race

Whistler realtor calls for fiscal responsibility



Just hours after he bought a Whistler gift store selling T-shirts and souvenirs, Allan Jenner remembers thinking he'd made a savvy investment.

A Japanese tourist came into the store and in one fell swoop bought $500 worth of T-shirts - not bad for items selling at $20 each.

Jenner said he asked for individual bags for each shirt to present them as gifts from his holiday in Whistler.

That scenario replayed itself over his 13 years in the gift shop business in Whistler. But that was back in the hey-day through the 1990s. It's not like that anymore.

"There's just less money sloshing around in the village," said Jenner. "We've got to adapt to being a regional market."

That's one of the reasons why he's decided to run for council. Things need to change.

Jenner has been living in Whistler since 1991, after spending eight years as a weekend warrior, based out of Vancouver where he was a banker.

He got out of the gift shop business in 2003 and decided to try his hand at real estate and now works for the Whistler Real Estate Company.

His decision to run for council was sparked by this year's budgeting process, particularly the benchmark used for establishing municipal salaries, which continue to increase based on the average of six Lower Mainland cities while the rest of Whistler feels the crunch of a tightening tourist economy.

"To me the public salaries should reflect what's going on in the community at large, whether it's council or staff," he said.

He calls it "bureaucratic creep" and he is calling for a wage and hiring freeze over the next four to five years.

"We have to become more fiscally responsible," he said.

It has become the war cry for election candidates.

Jenner said the municipality is also out of touch with what's happening on the ground in Whistler. He said it's "living in a bubble."

On the flipside, the community is feeling the pinch of an economy that is increasingly reliant on the regional market.

"House prices have gone down 25 per cent in the last couple of years and the taxes keep going up and people aren't feeling richer," said Jenner.

Eighty per cent of the buyers now are coming from B.C., he added.

"We've got to adapt to being a regional market," said Jenner.

Jenner has three grown children and four grandchildren. He has had a 20-year career in banking, a more than decade-long career in the retail business and now works as a realtor. He is the latest candidate to declare his intentions to run in November's election, joining incumbents Chris Quinlan and Tom Thomson and newcomers Brian Reid and Jack Crompton. Councillor Ralph Forsyth is running for mayor.