William Roberts pretty well sums up the economic problems facing the Sea to Sky Corridor at this time (Left Hanging, Pique letters Aug. 5). It puzzles me that one-industry towns continue to imagine that change will not impact them. Across the country, single industry or dominant industry towns wonder what hit them when the economy changes. Whistler as a tourist town or Pemberton as a seed potato town or Squamish as a lumber town are all standing on one leg. A changing dollar, a forest fire, a beetle, a border closure or a landslide can all happen - now! One-industry towns must have an active Plan B, Plan C and so on.
Each of the main corridor communities has greater breadth and depth than described above but there is a tendency to look backwards rather than into an exciting future. Roberts's notion of the "Official Community Business Plan" is such a sound idea. Economics can change so quickly and a nimble municipal economic department must be open to all possibilities.
The local communities have so much more to offer. The geographical location is second to none; the new highway is world class; the variety of outdoor actives goes on and on; the arts and culture are noted as being tops in Canada. Two universities! Access to oceanfront, rail connections and a large urban population just a little south all seeking a rural and wilderness experience. What more do we need? Well, an exciting, nimble and innovative Official Community Business Plan is a starter.
So, what to do? Coordinate the economics of the corridor in a whole new context based on what we have and what we could have. Catch the latest technological trends and create the new values emerging in the 21st century. Dig into the new brand possibilities and the soul of the corridor with designs and dreams and dynamics of change. Understand the new markets of seniors and women and visitors from emerging regions. Accept the notion of new work as the real work and celebrate great failures. Find "learning" in every endeavour and build it into a "Wow" enterprise. Celebrate the new leadership across many levels.
Someone recently said to me, "I wish we could go back to calm waters when things were predictable." The new mantra must be, Caution: White Water Ahead Continually!
The Fat Cats speak the language
There are only two reasons for killing 300-year-old living organisms: ignorance and greed. Yet that is exactly what Whistler is about to begin doing in its local forests - cutting down ancient trees.