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Budget looks promising for Whistler

There are parts of the 2005 provincial budget, announced on Tuesday, which look promising for Whistler.

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The provincial government's strategy to lower debt, combined with increased spending in health and education, will benefit not only Whistler residents but also all residents of British Columbia, said John Nadeau, interim president of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce.

The budget includes $317 million for improvements on the Sea to Sky Highway. An additional $81 million has been targeted to enhance economic opportunities which build on B.C.'s tourism industry.

Nadeau welcomed the budget this week, highlighting the improvements to the first time homebuyers program among other things.

"Improvements to the first time homebuyers program will support employees who purchase employee restricted units," he said. "This will be an immediate benefit to those people on the Whistler Housing Authority waiting lists once more units become available."

Also in the 2005 budget, ski and snowboard helmets – along with all helmets used in sport, recreation and transportation – will now be exempt from provincial sales tax, ultimately making them more affordable.

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