Sometime past 3 a.m. on rainy Dec. 17th, I left the plowed village of Whistler, headed north on the clear and salted Highway 99, dropped off a friend in the equally clear and snow-free Emerald left hand side entrance and then made my way back home to the Emerald right hand entrance only to be met with no less than 20 centimetres of slush.
Having left my periscope in the village, I was obviously unable to foresee the difficulties that lay ahead in my fine subdivision, and pressed forward to navigate the mush. Thirty minutes and 200 metres later, I was forced to abandon my car in the cul de sac, along with the other seven vehicles stranded there, notwithstanding the car that was blocking the entrance of my uphill driveway.
I would have moved Heaven and goopy snow to make it to my driveway that night knowing that in five hours, I would have to awaken and move my vehicle, (to God knows where), to avoid a ticket and possible towing. And of course, there I was five hours later, the picture of sleep walking beauty avec jammies and boots, making my civic duty trek down my hill to move my car only to be met with a STILL unplowed street. I retreated back to my couch where I awoke 45 minutes later to one towed car.
I arrived at the municipal offices, some time later to vehemently oppose my ticket and towing. As coincidence would have it, a neighbour was there disputing his ticket and towing as well in effect, a fellow partner in whine.
As far as the Bylaw Man was concerned, we are responsible for our cars and must respect the law and if there are no places to park, we must adhere to the rules in place and effectively deal.
As far as I'm concerned, I was not flagrantly flaunting the law. Everywhere else on earth was plowed that night except second entrance right hand side Emerald and even chains, front-wheel drive and snow tires were not enough to lend any kind of purchase on the road. I parked where I had to park.
The bantering continued but the highpoint came when Bylaw Man informed me that I was the one that chose to live in Emerald and MAYBE I SHOULD MOVE (to a place where they plow more regularly?). After my head spun twice around, a la Linda Blair, I informed Bylaw Boy that maybe he wasn't aware of the housing problems in our village and, more to the point, I was forced between a rock and a mushy place, having no other option than to park where I did because the muni hadn't plowed my street.
I ask you, Mayor O'Reilly, what other options do I have with a vehicle in the middle of the night, on a neglected, unplowed street, with vehicles blocking my driveway, but to park unaccordingly? I'm not going to change jobs, buy a monster truck, or move to Cancun. I am wondering, however, about compassion and leniency in an otherwise impossible situation.
This letter was addressed to Whistler council
Re: 2002 business licence fee increase of 37.5 per cent
As a small business owner in Whistler, I was absolutely stunned to receive my business licence renewal and find it was increased by 37.5 per cent, without notice or consultation.
Small business is the backbone of this community and should not be treated in such an arrogant and cavalier manner by council. This is, in my opinion, yet another example of councils indifferent and callous attitude towards its "subjects."
After calling your offices to complain I was told that there has been no increase in many years and that council decided to bite the bullet, put up with the complaints and push the increase through. I was also told that there had been many angry calls regarding the increase, some of which were downright abusive.
The business community should not be expected to bear the burden of councils incompetence in not reviewing business license costs on a more regular basis. If there must be an increase it should be phased in over a period of years, and then managed properly.
Please therefore take this as my formal request for a review of this massive percentage increase.
The "illegal nightly rental" owners, and property managers that market their properties, are going to be targeted and pursued by the municipality in January 2002.
The legal (TA zoned) owners and the management companies that handle legal properties are being ravaged by the illegals who pay no resort fees and the other costs associated with legal and regulated business.
I have been concerned that friends and business associates that have purchased legal TA properties and operate legal nightly operations are going to lose their accommodation as they are unable to compete with others that do not operate on a level playing field.
Following is an e-mail that I have sent to all parties that inquired as to the availability of our legal TA townhomes but did not book with us.
I am contacting you, along with others that have inquired about accommodations in our townhomes.
I attended the Property Owners and Managers Forum hosted by Tourism Whistler yesterday.
The representative from the Resort Municipality of Whistler spoke on the action that the municipality plans to take to shut down the illegal nightly property rentals that are being marketed in Whistler.
TA (Tourist Accommodation) properties are the ONLY units that can legally be rented for periods of less than 28 consecutive days.
The reason for this e-mail is to warn those that may rent non-TA accommodation, that it MAY not be available on their arrival.
I questioned the municipality's rep as to how they planned to handle illegal rentals that had already been booked and paid for.
The response I received was that it was the problem of the management company or owner as they had been warned and were aware of the B.C. Supreme Court ruling in favour of the municipality.
I am concerned, not for our own business as we are TA zoned, but for our visitors to Whistler that will be very upset with our resort if they find that their accommodation may have been shut down.
Many legal (TA) companies have been severely damaged by the competition from the illegals, who pay no resort fees and other costs associated with a legal and regulated business, and have put pressure on the municipality to enforce the law. This ruling is likely to go into effect in January and those of you who are coming to Whistler in January or later may be affected.
Please contact whoever you have chosen to book with and confirm that the accommodation you have chosen is TA zoned, and if it is not, insist that if it is not available on your arrival that they provide a legal TA zoned property as a substitute.
Please understand that this is being sent as my way of providing all guests with information that may help them enjoy the most wonderful winter resort in North America, or maybe, in the world.
Big! Big! Snow Year.