News » Whistler

commish dies

Development commission folds up By Chris Woodall The Sea to Sky Economic Development Commission — set up to encourage diverse job opportunities in the corridor — has decided to go out of business. "We determined that we would wind it down, and once we meet all our obligations we will dissolve," said commission chair Corinne Lonsdale. The commission met Monday. The provincial government had cut $40,000 in grants late last year, effectively draining the lifeblood from the commission. "We asked the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District to retain the commission's functions so if the opportunity comes down the road, we could again enter into (having an economic development commission)," Lonsdale explained. The commission has also asked that the regional district administrator, Rick Beauchamp, take charge of the remaining obligations of the commission, Lonsdale said. Outstanding items to take care of include the forest sector strategy and the Sea to Sky film board. "The benefit of the commission was really for our neighbours north and south of us," Whistler Mayor Hugh O'Reilly said of Pemberton and Squamish. "They're probably going to feel this more than we are," O'Reilly added. Although Whistler's zooming economy is less likely to need an organization to promote industrial diversity, it supports the commission's efforts, O'Reilly said. "If the program had stayed I would have supported it," O'Reilly said. The commission is comfortable with its decision to turn off the lights, but hopes it will return to duty. "I believe that when the time is right and the need is there, we'll have another economic development officer," Lonsdale said, referring to Robert Fine, who left the commission last fall, when it became known funding would be cut.