"The results of this project confirmed that Whistler has a serious challenge ensuring adequate skilled workers in the future, a challenge that can not merely be overcome by stock options or targeting a different demographic group." Pique letters Sept. 10
Peter Lawrie's post-graduate research project aptly describes Whistler's future if it continues down the existing path. While he states the obvious "The majority of the pool of available labour is from elsewhere, typically young people taking a break in schooling" he fails to point out that their other (or primary) reason for being there "...the recreational opportunities and the social aspects of Whistler" is also a prime motivator for the professionals and skilled workers who would make Whistler their home.
Affordable access (and the time to pursue) the aforementioned recreational opportunities, coupled with adequate compensation, is essential to retaining quality people. As hospitality professionals, my wife and I relocated to Whistler in an effort to enjoy the outdoors and advance our developing careers. However, I quickly soured on Whistler life when I discovered that the work/life balance touted by my inital employer was in fact vastly skewed towards the work side! I attributed this primarily to my being "blessed" with an immediate manager from the East Coast who in his almost three years in Whistler accessed the mountain less times than I could count on one hand. The resulting wasted hours, and the neglect of an oft-touted company policy of "support and development" took much out of the initial thrill of Whistler life. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to deduce that this unrewarding "city-like" working environment, in conjunction with excessive housing and food costs, rendered Whistler uninhabitable for me.
My wife was more fortunate in that her employer (Whistler-Blackcomb) practices what they preach with their career-oriented people, and makes a sincere effort to improve the quality of life for their staff through a social, team-oriented atmosphere, incentives, and job flexibility.
Our experience mirrors that of many of the young professional couples we met in Whistler we ultimately relocated to another place, with great jobs, better pay, improved work conditions, and great management. Yes, I miss the mountains, but I don't miss mortgaging our future to chase the myth of "personal sustainability" in Whistler.
Just wanted to tip my trucker hat to Ru Mehta and Tony Horn and all the volunteers and sponsors for putting on such a great Samurai Mountain Bike Race.
They came through once again with an exciting and extraordinary event while at the same time adding to community development by starting a tradition.