After four years away from the council table, former councillor Duane Jackson is throwing his hat back in the ring.
Jackson said he sees a community "stressed by success," and a range of critical issues to be addressed in the next four years: affordability, housing, overcrowding, transportation, the environment and recreational amenities among them.
How should Whistler go about tackling them?
"It's a good question, and it's a big question. I think everyone talks about housing, but housing means people, and I think you've got to break it down," Jackson said.
Looking at it demographic by demographic, everyone is impacted by the housing crisis, which in turn has had a spinoff effect on other areas of the community, Jackson said.
A lack of affordable employee housing for seasonals has led to a stressed and overworked workforce, which has led to a greater need for social services.
Young families who are able to find affordable housing struggle to find daycare. As the families grow, the local schools are strained for space and amenities see a rise in demand. Eventually they need to find bigger homes, and further down the road, seniors housing—both of which are hard to come by in Whistler.
"I think there's a lot of issues right through our complete demographic, that you kind of need to look at from a higher standpoint ... As you solve a problem in one place, it certainly helps, because everything moves around," Jackson said.
"So it's trying to figure out what the best thing is, what the best investment is, that's going to give you the biggest impact."
A designer, planner and builder by trade, Jackson has lived in Whistler for 26 years with his wife and three kids.
During his last stint on council, he sat on the RMOW's Finance and Audit Committee and Illegal Spaces Task Force (serving as chair of both), as well as being involved with the Whistler Public Library, Whistler Housing Authority, Whistler 2020 Development Corp., Cheakamus Community Forest and Audain Art Museum.
The next council's first order of business will be catching up on work underway in Cheakamus and private-sector housing proposals, Jackson said.
"Trying to get up to speed on where those are at, and what can be done, and what's affordable, and what the balance is, that's the job of the next council, and I see my strengths and my history being kind of useful," he said.
"It's going to take a lot of people with a lot of experience and a lot of perspectives to help try and figure out what to do next. I think it's recognized that we're not going to solve it all, but what are the next steps?"
Jackson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.