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Family Day date not set in stone, WB asks community to speak out

Province wants feedback on new stat holiday


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Whistler Blackcomb is calling on the community to campaign to change the date of Family Day, specifically to move the date of B.C.'s new statutory holiday away from one of the busiest weekends in the resort.

It's a multi-million dollar decision with big ramifications not just in Whistler but throughout the province.

"I'm hoping all the members of our community speak (out to the government)," said Whistler Blackcomb's president and COO Dave Brownlie.

"For our resort it would be much better to have Family Day in the first or second weekend in February."

Originally set for the third weekend in February, the province is now looking for feedback on that date.

A voting webpage has been set up, complete with a comment area, asking people to choose either the second Monday in February or the third Monday in February at:

The website is active from May 8-22. People can also share their thoughts on Facebook or Twitter using: #mybcfd

"Every B.C. family is unique, but one thing we all share in common is we're some of the hardest workers around," said Pat Bell, minister of jobs, tourism and innovation. "By waiting to implement the holiday until 2013, and consulting on the best timing of the holiday, we'll ensure we find the most appropriate date, and maximize the benefit to families and to business."

Whistler Blackcomb has been lobbying for the change through the Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA), of which it is a member.

"We've tried to provide them (the province) with a business case for moving that date," said CWSAA president David Lynn this week, days after the CWSAA annual conference where the Family Day date was a topic of discussion.

Organizations like CWSAA are pushing for change because the third weekend in February is a holiday in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, and is also the U.S. President's Day. It is traditionally a very busy time for ski resorts in B.C.

"It makes so much more sense to spread that business out," said Brownlie.

Moving the date to the second weekend would ensure that B.C. guests could enjoy places like Whistler without fighting for hotel rooms, restaurants and spaces in the lift lines.

It also evens out the winter business rather than amplifying the peaks and valleys of the resort business.

The government's citizen engagement process will also include consultation with worker groups, employers, the tourism industry and the broader business sector to ensure all potential and social benefits are considered before finalizing a February date for the new holiday.


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