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Letters to the editor

This weeks letters


Page 6 of 7

Jay Wahono



Numbers should be in public domain

In response to Barrett Fisher's letter last week, I am writing this to help spur dialogue about Tourism Whistler's role in the community. I am a new small business owner in the tourism industry, but since my business does not require an office, I am ineligible for membership of this "member-based" organization.

I am not very concerned about this because the type of "consumer" tourist that TW tries to attract differs from my marketing plan, but there are several services that TW provides that I believe should be publicly driven. One example of this is research. I am currently seeking funding from lending institutions, and a major determining factor of how seriously my business plan is taken will be in the statistical research I provide.

I could pay the $500 affiliate fee to get this research from TW, but when start-up costs are limited and I have to choose between building a website and receiving some research that may or may not help me, I am going to choose what is most tangible for my business. I do not think that this town's lifeblood industry should be kept behind closed doors. The municipality should administer the research and the results should be public domain, free for anyone who is curious. It would not only stimulate growth, but would make our industry much more transparent, allowing a platform for dialogue that, as Ms. Fisher stated last week, "Fosters new ideas and creativity, generates healthy debate; and ultimately makes us stronger as both a community and as a tourism destination."

Since my business's status prevents me from voting or being a member of the TW board, I will use this opportunity to propose a lofty initiative that will benefit everyone: Tourism Whistler should sell the Whistler Golf Club to the municipality to build resident housing. We could start with the driving range, which is the biggest waste of land in the resort. The 500+ people on the waiting list, myself included, would be relieved to finally have a home. We could even include a revenue generator such as Ken Achenbach's surf park idea. This may sound like a pipe dream, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Land has become such a crucial commodity in this town. A golf course in the centre of town is no longer necessary.