Last book read: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
What music are you listening to these days? Classical, listening or tickling the ivory keys
Favourite recreational pursuits: Downhill mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing, squash, swimming
1. Why are you running for council?
After discovering the healthy, vibrant and youthful community within the outdoor recreational playground that is Whistler, I found home. Although growing up only hours away in Greater Vancouver, this would become the community in which roots are established; a family nurtured and a lifestyle unparalleled.
With this knowledge, combined with the sweeping lack of confidence in current local government, I declared my candidacy to run for council.
At 25, and with more than half of Whistler’s demographic under 30, current council cannot fully appreciate the needs and challenges with seasonal housing shortages and affordability. I’m first-handedly witnessing what friends, neighbours and I are experiencing with the housing and affordability crisis as younger members of the community.
Equally as important, the interests of the landlord and their right to make the most of economic opportunity must be balanced with community needs. It is up to local government to implement programs and incentives as necessary to manage this balance.
The awareness of local government’s impact on our day-to-day lives is at the heart of my campaign. As a young-voter and candidate, I’m optimistic of enhanced exposure in the upcoming municipal elections within the younger demographics.
What I lack in political experience, I make up for with passion and a commitment to positive change in the long-term sustainability of our unique community — well beyond the 2010 Olympic Games. I’m confident that I’m as qualified as any other candidate. Collaborating closely with my constituents and the community alike, I’ll be engaged to make tough decisions with a fresh perspective.
On voting day, you’re appointed to build the council you believe will be best poised to guide our community to sustainable success. Although you’re not obligated to choose all six members of the team, make a vote for balance and produce a council that truly represents the community it serves.
2. Given that revenue from development is declining and the municipality is more dependent on hotel tax revenue at a time of economic uncertainty, how do you propose the municipality balance its budgets the next few years?
An immediate reduction of expenses will be necessary until the global economic crisis stabilizes. A review of the Five Year Financial Plan and collaboration with the community on spending priorities is a must to fit within the new fiscal reality.
Longer term initiatives in developing new (or turning around) revenue sources (e.g. MY Millennium Place) and identifying additional efficiency improvements within the municipality will be vital for future sustainability.
3. What other important issues does Whistler face in the next three years?
Seasonal housing and labour shortages, affordability (e.g.: living costs, cost of municipal services and childcare) and frivolous budget spending are examples of current issues identified by the community that will require aggressive solutions.
Safety and security, education and the environment are also very important issues that will require tighter management and innovative problem solving.
Sustainability post the 2010 Olympic Games is an issue I strongly believe has not been properly developed and will require immediate consideration.
4. What needs to be done to address those issues?
The cause and effect of these issues is well known, and I believe new leadership and a fresh perspective will bring innovative solutions to the table.
The somewhat cliché but ever so alive issues such as housing shortages, affordability and spending require the local government to take full responsibility for their resolution. It can no longer handoff this burden to local business.
Other proactive initiatives such as investment in crime prevention (neighbourhood watch, citizens on patrol); development of youth activities; and the implementation of post-secondary academic ambitions could have a dramatic effect on community safety, housing and labour shortages. Drastic changes in our environmental principles — a ban on plastic-bags as a current example — fit well within Whistler’s world-class aspirations.
The delivery of the 2010 Olympic Games and the opportunities it presents will need to be approached within the constraints of our community’s sustainable future. We need to manage the commitments made to date and fully evaluate additional demands made on the community.