Whistler Votes 11:16:2002
On Nov. 16, Whistler residents will go to the polls to vote for a mayor and six municipal councillors for the next three years.
While there is a tendency to belittle small town politics, Whistler is not your typical small town.
Our next local government will be called upon to make several key decisions on major issues such as the Olympics, which the current council hopes will bring with it expanded boundaries and a community land bank for future employee housing.
The municipality is also in the process of updating its Official Community Plan, moving towards social, economic and environmental sustainability through the Whistler. It's Our Future initiative. We are the first community to approach sustainability at this level, and the world is watching.
From a community perspective, Whistler will reach build-out within the next few years when the bed unit cap is reached. Will that mean the end of new development, or the beginning of redevelopment?
And what about the future of green spaces and development rights which are still up in the air.
Long term affordability and employee housing continue to be front and centre when it comes to election issues, despite the commendable efforts of the Whistler Housing Authority.
This spring will see the release of the provincial government's new Community Charter which could give the municipality new financial tools to reduce its dependence on the hotel tax and property taxes. What will this proposed resort tax look like and how will it affect us?
And the nightly-rental tourism accommodation issue has yet to be settled, despite having its day in court.
Two major issues on the minds of voters and candidates are the huge capital projects Whistler is currently involved in and how will they be paid for. The library, the new fire hall and the sewage treatment plant come to mind. And some are concerned about what they perceive as a lack of community consultation on major issues.
It's going to be a challenging three years for the next council.
To enlighten voters and clarify what the 20 different candidates stand for, Pique is running a four-part series during the election.
For the first two parts (Oct. 18 and 25 issues), candidates were given 200 words each to answer questions on the Whistler. It's Our Future sustainability process and the Olympics posed by the Pique.
The last two parts (Nov. 1 and Nov. 8 issues) are the candidate profiles in which all of the contenders will have an opportunity to discuss their own priorities and present their election platforms to the voters.