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Mayor OReilly is right. These are the primary issues. However circumstances, and perceived urgency are pushing for them to be considered in reverse logical order.
The Comprehensive Sustainability Plan (CSP) is to serve as our updated Official Community Plan (OCP). The Municipal Act requires an OCP. Our old one is out of date. The CSP will give us a plan to set out our environmental priorities, to create a strong, stable community and to encourage a vibrant, growing local economy. The CSP will help us with principles for land use, limits to growth, good resident housing and other basic underpinnings for our vision of Whistler.
The land bank is offered by the province to meet our need for first rate employee housing. It will consist of 300 acres in the lower Callaghan Valley, the southern Cheakamus area and other parcels yet to be named. It isnt logical to debate the use of the Callaghan before the community decides on overall land use in the CSP. The land is coming anyway. Lets decide how to use it with a plan. The great strategist is the guy who generates great options . And keeps them open.
The financial tools requested from the province could include resort sales taxes, shared PST, expanded hotel tax etc. This will shift some of the cost of the resort to our visitors, rather than having the entire burden paid for by property taxes. Resort costs should be set out and limited by the choices made in the CSP. Business has to be treated fairly. An open tax grab wont work for anyone. Therefore the CSP creates a framework to utilize the land bank. And the financial tools support the CSP wish-list by paying for the communitys choices. We dont need to do this backwards. The process to create the CSP has lost credibility. It should be re-thought. We need a financial strategy to manage the funding impacts of employee housing and our capital costs. We need to protect the interests of both Whistler taxpayers and businesses. I want to help get the CSP back to the community. I can help form a financial plan.
We may well win the 2010 Olympics, and I hope we do. The $300-million Legacy Package will certainly require strategic management. The CSP should give direction. I can help with that too.
The most important opportunity facing council is developing the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan (CSP). It provides the framework for our decision making process over the next five years. It allows us to determine how and when we will take advantage of our affordability issues. With this plan we should be able to identify our housing needs and set out a timeline with bed units that need to be retained and/or built as our resort matures.