As a resident (citizen?) of Whistler” I’d like to call out a disturbing perception and trend of thinking I have seen reflected recently in many ongoing, well intentioned conversations, voices and letters by some who are offering up suggestions on ways to “help solve the problems facing our community.”
There seems to be a prevailing belief or attitude that areas like childcare or accommodation should not be part of the responsibility of the RMOW. To be clear; I am not suggesting it should be the sole responsibility of the RMOW to manage these specific areas. I am suggesting there is a level of responsibility and ownership that cannot be denied or dismissed that needs to be taken, and is essential to the permanent resolution of specific ongoing or developing issues. The RMOW by nature can serve by providing a degree of resources, skills, or management needed to do so.
We need to remind ourselves that it is people who provide the skills, talents and service that allow the smooth operation and success (or not) of our resort community. We need to stop denying the ripple effect and interconnectedness of many core issues like accommodation or childcare, and the direct influence they have on the success or failure of the resort municipality at large.
While our community is blessed with many opportunities that in part serve to strengthen our potential success as a resort municipality, we cannot continue to pretend that specific, chronic, unresolved issues, some of which span decades, are not important or relevant as part of the ongoing management provided by the RMOW, that leads to the success or failure of our resort community. A shift needs to occur in recognizing, understanding and differentiating the diversity of the unique needs and challenges of our resort community to every other municipality in the country. We are different, and we are unique.
The childcare issue is a good example of a developing issue that represents this interconnectedness. It takes the form of a Whistler love story… Boy and girl quest their individual dreams; boy and girl (or may be even boy and boy or girl and girl) find the place, the dream, and each other. Boy and girl work hard, looking to secure their dream. They get married (or create a couple ship) and decide to have children (or even adopt). They seek the security of work, a home and access to a magnificent playground in which to grow and thrive. Boy and girl, provide amazing services to guests who also thrive, if only for a day, week or six months, living out their own dreams. Boy and girl earn money for themselves and all shareholders. They use the roads, hospital, daycare and schools; they spend their hard-earned money, mostly in Whistler. They pay taxes and support revenues, they volunteer.