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Regarding Financial Tools, I agree that we need to find opportunities within our current hotel tax, school tax, and PST by examining the proportions retained by Whistler. I do not support an additional resort tax. Additional taxes will affect both the local residents and tourists spending power by reducing net income and will have a negative multiplier effect, reducing the net dollars spent in this resort. I believe Whistler is at a critical point where our price level is becoming a consideration in tourists choice to come here or not. Finally, council needs to examine if our budget and project allocations are achieving the highest and best use of our existing funds. My experience in budget management and cost-benefit analysis in multi-million dollar land developments will allow me as a councillor to ask specific questions on budgets, fund allocation, and bring experiences in budget construction. To date, this council has not had someone with this particular experience.
The land bank for resident housing is a good opportunity to address our housing issues but the location of the land bank is critical to achieve sustainability goals. It is important that resident housing be located next to support services such as: daycare, transit, fire halls, schools, and basic commercial services such as a grocery store. It is also important to integrate resident housing in neighbourhoods in a sensitive manner. The question is whether Whistler wants to spread down the valley or concentrate its development on existing crown lands and vacant lands that lie within current RMOW boundaries. In order to find solutions to our housing issues, a full understanding of how to implement and deliver affordable housing is required to build the necessary cost-benefit analysis of the location of resident housing land banks. I bring 15 years of successfully delivering over 1,000 affordable housing units across British Columbia, which is a very unique skill that is not currently on council.
I am concerned about the large sums of money being spent on the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan. Council needs to review the budget and timeline, set some immediate deadlines and utilize existing reports. My experience in hiring consultants and managing timelines would allow me as a councillor to ask specific questions to clarify budgets, process, and timelines. My experience in understanding the interrelationship of social, economic, environmental, and development concerns on a broader vision could provide knowledge on how to expedite this initiative so that our OCP and planning tools are updated quickly in a cost sensitive manner.