Occupations? President, Skidine Enterprises Ltd., managing commercial properties in Whistler. Previously owner/operator Zeuski's and Thai One On, Food and Beverage Management in Whistler, Vancouver and Calgary.
Furthest place you travelled and why? The Greek islands, to find a good retsina wine for Zeuski's. OK, it was a holiday.
Describe yourself using five words or less. Funny, collaborator, passionate, determined.
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you? I have difficulty writing bios for election coverage.
What do you see as the top election issues?
The long-term financial viability of Whistler should be the top election issue for all. Further down the list but getting little mention is the strained relationship between the RMOW and the community. I have experienced a better working relationship in the past and see no reason why it cannot be restored. New direction from our CAO and elected officials, and by gaining back the community's trust that the finances are in order, will be the start of that process. In the meantime, a renewed level of respect for each other would also help.
How would you address the budget shortfall?
In the past, especially the last three years the main way to deal with the shortfall was to increase property taxes (20 per cent). There is a clear message from the residents, second homeowners and the commercial section that an additional property tax increase for 2012 is not an option. Therefore, a reduction in expenses must be achieved. Of course, the more exciting way to deal with the budget shortfall in the long term is a busier resort and community which increases revenue.
What do you think is the RMOW's role in boosting tourism? The main players in boosting tourism are Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb. The RMOW's role in this is to firstly maintain the public facilities and services and in that they do a great job. The RMOW, years ago, took an aggressive stance on preserving and managing the natural beauty of Whistler. That forever remains one of the cornerstones in our policy-making. After all, it is the natural assets of Whistler that made us want to live here and for others who are keen to visit. As well, it is little things like a well-placed bobsled, a set of Olympic rings or a street entertainer that only add to a visit without large dollars being spent.
What would you do to enhance the environment for business? Currently a 3,000 square foot restaurant pays over $36,000 a year in property taxes and municipal utilities. No increase in 2012 property taxes would help all businesses. The culture in all departments must be that they are there to assist all new and existing businesses to operate, renovate and prosper. Quick processing times for all types of applications keeps the wheels moving. Initiating pay parking couldn't have come at a worse time for the village business. I would expect the next mayor and council to review the November 1, 2011 day lot rate structure in their first 45 days and respond accordingly. These initiatives would have a positive impact on the business environment.
Give an example of a difficult situation you have overcome. In 2007 the owners in Le Chamois voted to raise the funds to replace the building envelope and start the repair work that year. By January 2008 no work had been done and the estimates had tripled to over $15 million with no end in sight. I was elected president of the Le Chamois Strata Council and given the responsibility of getting the project back on course. The envelope replacement with the addition of a completely rebuilt pool and the start of some ground level enhancements was finished in 2010 and very close to the original estimates. This was the most difficult task I have undertaken.
Where can people go to get your election platform? Thank you for taking time to get informed and please vote. Contact Information:email firstname.lastname@example.org. Coming soon to www.johngrills.ca