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Letters to the editor

A plea for heroes

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Page 6 of 8

Did you really think our rich uncle in Victoria and his buddies at VANOC were going to make sure Whistler would have all the resources it needs to protect the poor Whistler taxpayer? These same people I think also believe the Godfathers at the IOC are just sweet old philanthropists working towards world peace.

Did you really think that we were going to have any control over how this big party was going to go down? Did you think we were going to be able to say “no” to the likes of the provincial government and its institutions on things like what they can or cannot do with their land (B.C. Hydro buses), or get the tax revenues we need, we deserve (VANOC sliding centre)?

While these now angry and surprised taxpayers are crying in their martinis about the waste and injustice of it all, they are also leveling charges of gross incompetence at virtually every soul at the RMOW and council. I have never trusted governments to be great money managers with my hard earned taxes (I am very good at wasting money on my own, thank you very much), and I would never claim that the RMOW is a bastion of total efficiency and value. However, blaming our council and staff at the RMOW for the record construction costs for the last four or five years, record commodity prices, record land costs, record pressure from developers… and on and on and on, is really a gross distortion of reality and a selective interpretation of the facts.

You want to complain about the cost of the library or the sewage treatment plant? Just ask anyone who tried to do a reno on their house in Whistler in the last several years about how expensive it was. Why? Every able-bodied trade and/or labourer was hijacked by exorbitant pay rates on must do “Olympic” sites throughout the corridor. We had to pay $25-30/hr for labour last fall because the Nordic centre, the athletes’ village, etc. were like a deep black holes of cash for trades and a great sucking sound was heard throughout the valley as my bank account was drained, along with our municipality’s.

Ask the builders in Vancouver about how expensive it was to build anything over the last five years vs. the previous 100 years! Construction costs were going up by an estimated 2-3 per cent per month! Just ask the Millennium developers building the Olympic village in Vancouver about record building costs and $60 million deficits. Wow, even the sophisticated, supremely politically connected developer guys got it wrong.