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kristi wells

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Council candidate: Kristi Wells In the early 1970s, Kristi Wells learned to ski on Rainbow Mountain. Her Vancouver family were weekend warriors and the tradition survived throughout the next decade. In 1990 she moved to Whistler full time to be a ski instructor. A good job with the WRA, her own business and six years on council put an end to that. She’s barely skied since. Pique: Why do you want to be a councillor again? Kristi: I personally believe when you live in a community and you dedicate yourself to a community, you have to be involved in some way. For me this is the type of involvement where I think I can make the most difference. Just because council’s term is ending, it doesn’t change the passions or areas I’m working on. If we look at facilities and some of our infrastructure, the final pieces of the puzzle, this is the term where they’re going to be put into place. It doesn’t mean they will necessarily be built, but the plans, the funding sources, the locations, designs, are going to have to be dealt with by this council. That includes the library building, the museum, a proper building for the Chamber of Commerce and a welcome centre right in the village where it’s supposed to be. Pique: How would council have been different if you hadn’t been there? Kristi: Some of the things I could directly attach my name to would be bridging the gap between some community organizations and council. I look at the library, specifically, recognition of the library being a fundamental community foundation. It needs it’s own budget line item; it can’t be subject to the grant-in-aid process. I feel as though I motivated the fact it’s a municipal library. With the co-operation of council, I got expanded space, a clarified budget item, and dollars, timeline, and current resources committed to building a new building. Relative to the Chamber of Commerce — and these are both boards I sit on — we’re working towards a fee for contract. The services they deliver, in co-operation with the municipality, are a huge. It not only gives out information to tourists, but it covers the Spirit program, training programs, group insurance, employment agency, all the little things that fall between the cracks, it does it on a very limited budget, limited financial resources and in a tiny little building that has about a six month future to it. Pique: What are the most important issues council will have to deal with in next session? Kristi: The first thing is a very strategic and strong argument to the provincial government for a new revenue source. It absolutely has to be gone after aggressively and it has to be very forward thinking. Whether the solution is receiving a portion of the taxes already being collected or a new taxing tool, that’s something council has to get aggressively behind and go for it on. Another thing that has to be seriously looked at is our whole internal structure. We need to have more bodies as part of our senior management team. We need to fill some vacancies. We need to focus on customer service and look at how we really do business outside our office and our accessibility. Another focus is an affordability program. To recognize the cost of living here and to start putting some things in place that concretely, through agreement, put certain initiatives and pricing options in place to continue to make it affordable to live here. We’ve got to look at it comprehensively, look outside of the box, and be very aggressive about how much it costs to live here and how we’re going to make sure it’s available to a wide cross section. Pique: How do you balance local interests with larger community interests? Kristi: I think recent rifts had different sources. Some of them are related to employee housing in backyards, some of them are related to tourist accommodation and the whole rental issue with your neighbour versus my neighbour, some of them are just related to change. And I think first we have to embrace one thing: What is the neighbourhood in Whistler? There’s no way we can ever compare it to the typical suburban neighbourhood. So, council needs to recognize the neighbourhood, the community of Whistler, is the second homeowner. It is the part-time resident. It is the family living and working and renting a house. It’s people owning homes. It’s employees living in a house. It’s a ski club cabin. It’s a B&B. Our neighbourhoods have a whole other atmosphere and definition to them. Once that’s embraced and acknowledged, meeting the needs of that great variety of needs in a neighbourhood can be met. Every decision will have to be weighed by the people sitting around the (council) table. They can only weigh those decisions if they are properly informed, they have a vehicle by which they get enough input from the neighbourhoods and from the community, and then they can make a decision based on today’s reality. Pique: Why should people vote for you? Kristi: I’m a very good decision maker. By that I mean I’m very capable of getting information, understanding it, and being accessible for input and perspective. I can balance the business needs with the community needs because I have personal experience across the board in that. I represent a very good cross-section of the community. My years on council have given me experience in terms of mediation, in terms of building consensus and moving to a non-reactive place. I also understand every decision has impacts and I’m able to look forward to those impacts as part of the decision making process. I can offer council a lot of leadership. Leadership from a place of experience; leadership from a place of having my own visions that I believe are very based in what the community needs and is ready for; and some experience with the practical workings of the system. That’s part of the overall formula. It allows for decisions to be made faster, more comprehensively, and more in balance with council’s priorities.

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