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Feature - Corridor dynamics

There’s much more than the Olympics and development projects on the horizon, there’s going to be a population shift

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"There’s just so much potential in what’s happening now that we really need to be building for 2010, as opposed to just building when it’s needed.

"In saying that, we also need long term plans because you wouldn’t mortgage your house for a 17-day party.

"The advice a lot of the people from Salt Lake have given us is not to be greedy with the rent as the Olympics approach because we need to make for long-term customers."

The other aspect of this situation is the pressure to get it right.

"The real difficult job is for the planning department and they’re the ones that keep all the balls in the air and keep track of everything," Sutherland said.

"One thing about the planning folks is that there’s 15 balls in the air and we don’t know which ones are going to hit, but our planning staff are good at saying, ‘OK, we’ll take it as it comes.’

"It’s important to remember that all the projects we’ve spoken about are ones that are being done, but there’s another list – this high – that we haven’t talked about that are in the planning stages.

"Having said all that, it’s a great spot to be in because we’ve got all these ideas coming at us and hopefully we can pick and choose everything to go forward with."

Determining what’s best for the Sea to Sky corridor will rely heavily on the spirit of co-operation.

For now, the municipalities in the corridor appear to be working well together and this is something that must continue, because as the dynamics shift in one community, the impact may be felt in others.

Sutherland appeared relieved when he spoke of the co-operation in the Sea to Sky corridor.

"We’ve figured it out, finally, that all three of us (the governments in Pemberton, Squamish and Whistler) working together can make this into a dynamic area.

"There are some things Whistler can do well and there’s some things it doesn’t do so well, and the same thing with Squamish and Pemberton. This is why we have the regional growth strategy, so all three of us, as well as the outlying areas, understand what we’re trying to do.

"And it’s not about competing, because we’re not competing for the same business dollar, it’s about trying to complement each other.

"There is no room for a factory outlet mall in Whistler, for example, but if you were going on vacation what better way to do it than to go skiing in the morning and then come down here, play a round of gold in the afternoon and then go for a sail in the evening. Where else can you do that in the world? But to achieve this we have to work together."