'Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.'
- Henry Ford
He just felt it was time. He'd been around for a while now. He was committed to the town's future — had actually been an active player in Whistler's growth and development during the last 25 years... had created such iconic dining spots as Zeuski's Taverna and Thai One On. Now he wanted to see the place succeed.
And though he was maxed out with work and family and coaching and volunteering and life and... the longtime Whistler restaurateur felt he needed to get involved in the political process.
For some time now, he'd had reservations about the current administration's ability to navigate the troubled waters of Whistler's Post-Olympic realities. Not to mention knowing how to stick-handle the game-changing aspects of the Great Recession. He felt the Olympics had masked some serious issues behind all the global hype and spectacle. But now the time of reckoning had come.
He had no choice, really. He owed it to his friends, his neighbours — even to his three kids. He had to do the right thing. He had to run for Whistler council.
So that's what he did.
And now? "It's a big step to get involved in politics," admits first-time councillor John Grills. "And quite intimidating." He pauses for a beat. "There are plenty of folks here who should be involved in the political process. Really good people with lots to offer. But there's a fear, you know... you're really putting yourself out there when you step into the political ring. Suddenly you're a public figure — totally vulnerable."
He sighs. "And the learning curve... oh my goodness. I just can't believe how much stuff we have to cover every week." He stops. Shakes his head. "I knew this was going to be hard, but... Still, I really like being on top of things — I don't like to let things slip. And you know, I just think it's a natural step for me. I really believe in giving back. And serving on Whistler Council..." He stops again. Laughs. "Well, that's giving back in a big way..."
Fortunately, he adds, there are positive elements to the job as well. "It's just so exciting to be in a position to make real changes in the community you live in. The fact that I could actually be involved in affecting its growth, its change, its future directions... that never ceases to inspire me."
Like most Whistlerites, John made a number of forays to the valley before he finally managed to settle down for good in Sea to Sky. He grew up in the east end of Toronto. Didn't start skiing until he was in his teens, he tells me. But he got pretty keen on the sport pretty fast.