Our natural strengths
I’m writing to strongly support two letters that appeared in the Jan. 26 Pique: Rick Flebbe’s about showcasing the natural beauties of our area, and David Buzzard’s about the need for employee housing. There’s so much that can be said on these topics that I’m going to touch on just a couple of the many points that relate to marketing.
"Two mountains with a mile of vertical and a pedestrian village in the middle" is a fabulous asset, but I think that the easy access to wilderness and natural beauty is what’s really special. Lots of travelers agree: self-guided nature study is the biggest single tourism draw (and income generator) in the province, and it’s time we took notice. Let’s recognize the work of so many individuals that has gone into making and maintaining trails, and let’s understand the need to enhance and expand the trail system for inexperienced trekkers – crowded trails with few signs and no washrooms don’t lead to the best experiences for beginners.
With regard to housing, I am astonished by the lack of understanding about how bad the situation is, especially for seasonal employees. We certainly need homes for permanent residents, but we also need flexible, short-term accommodations. Let’s revisit Jamey Kramer’s idea about low-rise, super-cheap apartments, and see if that can fit into the athlete’s village design, so that we can take advantage of the funding being made available, while minimizing the ecological footprint.
Marketing courses teach us to identify our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Our natural heritage is one of our greatest strengths, and represents many kinds of opportunities, since we have barely begun to market it. One of our greatest weaknesses, as a community and as a destination, is the housing situation for seasonal, long-term, and permanent residents. It is a threat to the quality of service we can deliver, and the quality of the word-of-mouth messages that travel out of the resort with visitors and employees.
And nothing, absolutely nothing, beats word-of-mouth in the world of marketing.
Thinking of others on highway
The plans for the Sea to Sky Highway are proceeding. However, for budgetary reasons, safety may be left behind. I believe this would be a big mistake.
On Friday, Feb. 3, I attended a meeting in Vancouver with Ross Walker. Also in attendance were Gord Leidal and Eric Mittendorfer of Whistler.
We met with two people in charge of the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project. The Community Relations Officer for Whistler, Scott Roberts, and an outside consultant who was a "Safety" expert, also were present.