In recent months there has been a consistent effort on the part of the RMOW to portray the residents of the SLRD as freeloading parasites sucking the blood from Whistler taxpayers. While it was somewhat humorous initially, I must now set the record straight as things have clearly gone sideways, as evidenced by RMOW’s decision to walk away from the SLRD planning process last week.
First, we are your parents; we are what you came from. All of the initial services in the original community of Alta Lake were provided by the SLRD. How is it then that we are now being vilified as Johnny come lately to the development gravy train, when we were here first? My apologies to aboriginal communities.
Second, we are your closest neighbours and as such share with you our daily experiences. A good number of us contribute significantly to the ongoing success of Whistler and have for many years. We are your friends and relatives and yes... we are guilty of shopping in your stores, eating and drinking in your restaurants and skiing on your mountains. Typically in the rest of Canada, Whistler would be known as a regional service area and the commerce that would bring would be considered to be of benefit to all sectors.
The communities of Black Tusk and Pinecrest are excellent examples of independent, vibrant satellite neighbourhoods that are essentially self sufficient in terms of most services. We have our own community hall, beaches and tennis courts. We successfully operate our own satellite TV rebroadcasting system and our own wireless Internet service. We have our own dedicated volunteer fire department, roads and utility contractors and operate our own sewage treatment plants. Contrary to recent concerns expressed by the RMOW that independent communities could not be relied upon to keep their sewage plants operational, both Black Tusk and Pinecrest have each completed modernization of their independent sewage treatment plants in recent months, as is their legal obligation under provincial statutes.
According to our B.C. Tax Assessments we pay our share of school taxes, hospital taxes in both Lillooet and Squamish and contribute our share to the Whistler Public Library. With the exception of landfill, which could also be rectified with similar assessments, where does the charge of freeloading come in?
So quit the rhetoric about down valley sprawl and rogue developments on the fringe of Whistler. Recognize that SLRD landowners and taxpayers also have rights through fair rezoning process. Remember that not all SLRD residents were in favour of the developments at Whistler at the outset. Arguably these developments have altered SLRD residents’ lives significantly more than what the current 64 lot subdivision north of Whistler will do to residents of the RMOW.