Whistler’s mayor, on behalf of council, issued an apology to the community Monday night, over the controversial decision to allow the fire chief to jump the housing waitlist.
“We wanted to first apologize for failing to communicate that decision,” said Ken Melamed.
In an in camera meeting council decided to allow Chief Rob Whitton to sell his market home and jump the queue of the Whistler Housing Authority waitlist and purchase a new employee-restricted home at the Lakecrest development.
The mayor explained that though the decision was made in a closed-door meeting that was not done to hide anything.
“We certainly have nothing to hide,” he added. “We simply missed a sensitive issue.”
The municipality is preparing a communiqué to explain council’s decision. It is not clear when that will be distributed.
Province to kick in for Squamish commuter
Whistler and Squamish are getting help from the province to fund the popular commuter bus service between the two communities.
B.C. Transit will kick in 46.69 per cent of the total project cost, which amounts to more than a $120,000 contribution.
“This is the first time in five years that the province of British Columbia has funded an expansion in transit service,” said Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
That means Whistler’s contribution will decrease this year to around $25,000. Squamish will match that payment.
Last year the two communities kicked in more than $83,000 for the commuter service.
The same level of service will be provided again this year — four round trips per day. It will begin in November and run through April.
RMOW and Vancouver become partners
Whistler and Vancouver councils solidified their growing partnership in an official agreement this week, vowing to work together for the 2010 Winter Games.
“We’re sort of joined at the hip in terms of delivering an extraordinary Games,” said Jim Godfrey, Whistler’s executive director for the 2010 Games.
Among other things the two communities have promised to:
• coordinate in the delivery of municipal services during the Games,
• co-operate on the delivery of the Live Sites,
• ensure the Paralympic Games experience is integrated and profiled,
• use the Games to advance mutual interests in sustainability in all its dimensions.
Both councils spoke of their excitement regarding the possibilities of working together in the coming years.
"We are very excited about working with Whistler in the lead up to 2010," said Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, whose council passed the agreement at their meeting on Tuesday. "The Partnership Agreement we have approved today will strengthen the relationship between our two cities, promote accessibility and coordinate the delivery of municipal services during the Games."
Councillor Eckhard Zeidler touched on how far Whistler has come since it first began negotiating for the Games, during the bid phase. At that time, Whistler was talking about incorporating sustainability principles into the Games. To see that formalized in a document with Vancouver was gratifying.
He said: “It goes a long way to show from little ideas in little places like Whistler, hopefully you can change the world.”