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Financial tools, land bank, CDP — the candidates speak

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The comprehensive sustainability plan should comprise three categories: social, economic, infrastructure sustainability. They are all intertwined but have to be dealt with separately.

RALPH FORSYTH:

I agree with these priorities. The key is to keep focused on them and set some timelines to accomplish them. Without timelines any goal is in jeopardy of failure. Throughout my campaign, I promised that I would make affordability my first priority. I believe the "Financial Tools" the mayor mentions are a significant step toward addressing the issue. The mayor suggests three options; I prefer the two that get the province to share a greater percentage of the tax that is already collected. I’m not a huge fan of the third. I don’t think we should be downloading all of our costs onto visitors, and I certainly don’t think Whistler’s citizens should be asked to "pony up" any more dough either. I am also concerned that there are no priorities for how the money will be spent. Will it be spent on initiatives that help strengthen and support Whistler’s families, seniors and young people? I believe that focusing on Whistler’s families is the key; we must find a way to retain families. Raising a family is challenging enough, but it’s made even harder with the enormous financial burden that exists in Whistler.

The land bank is going to be the most controversial issue that this council faces. I think we all agree that a land bank north of the village would be ideal, but I don’t buy some of the arguments about the Callaghan being too far (most mountain bikers in Whistler would ride 16 km as a warm up!). If there is no option north of the village and the Callaghan represents an opportunity for growing families like mine to buy a house, then I believe that the community will decide that it’s a good option.

Community consultation will be the key to navigating our way through these issues and I plan to keep my campaign promise of keeping one office day per week to do just that. I also believe that this consultation process is necessary if we are going to bring the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan to fruition. If we are to create a shared vision of what we want our community to look like, we need to find innovative ways to involve the public. (Council should try skiing with locals; it works great!) If the public supports the plan, it will provide council with the direction to make decisions that reflect the values of our community.