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Remember when it used to be quiet during the shoulder season? The only things going on this week were: o Intrawest increased its stake in Mammoth Mountain, to 51 per cent o A major report on building a cultural facility in Whistler was released o A radical new approach to municipal budgeting which encourages innovation and creativity was introduced o A plan by BC Rail to divvy up virtually the entire west side of Alta Lake into 20 acre parcels was presented o The 19 Mile Creek employee housing project was given first two readings, even though staff and council have yet to determine if it meets the municipality’s "affordability" guidelines o The long-awaited policy and guidelines for chalet and villa-style accommodation were outlined, and then withdrawn as discussion would have taken Monday’s council meeting well into Tuesday Of course, with the World Cup next week and the valley brown, there was also the skywatch for little white flakes. Enough angst the Canadian Psychiatry Association should consider having its annual convention in Whistler at World Cup time — the entire town is a case study. While the World Cup and the festival that go with it are rightly front and centre in most people’s minds this week, the issues before Whistler council suggest that, one year after their election, this council is about to start making its mark. This council has been criticized, not always unfairly, for drawing issues out and avoiding making decisions. The chalet and villa issue Monday was a case in point. While there was a sizeable volume of new material brought forward in the recommendations, which naturally would have prompted a long discussion, one councillor suggested they just vote on the recommendations as everyone has formed an opinion on the general issue. The matter was tabled to Dec. 1, when a public workshop will be held, beginning at 10 a.m. Perhaps more indicative of this council, however, was the new direction on budgeting which, among other things, provides employees with incentives to save money and gives department heads more authority on spending matters. This new approach is also likely to be seen in the results of the transportation study, which will become public soon. Both are incorporated into the long-term vision for Whistler’s future that council began last January. The results of nearly one year of discussions and studies about what direction Whistler should be taking are supposed to be available prior to the Dec. 13 town hall meeting. It will not be a path already laid out by council for Whistler to follow, but rather a framework that asks questions of values and presents choices. All Whistlerites will have an opportunity to be involved in this vision and should take that opportunity. The busy season is just ahead.

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