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Letters to the editor

We have an obligation to engage in this debate


The objective of editorial writing is to express an opinion. Within his column, Alta States, Michel Beaudry does exactly that. Every week Michel provides his take on the characters and circumstance of Whistler. The vast majority of his articles celebrate the people that make up our community. He, more than any, chronicles the history of Whistler by dialoguing with its characters. He uses his interviews to test his impressions of the past, present and future of Whistler. He contrasts this with his experience of having travelled to most of the ski areas and mountain resorts of the world, participating, observing and writing about all that he sees. While no longer a full-time resident, he remains fully engaged in all things Whistler. Michel is a person with a profound passion for this place. This passion is based on the same reasons that brought most of us here... the incredible recreation, set within the beauty of the coastal mountains of British Columbia.

The mountains and recreation act as the foundation of our core values. As a writer, Michel has taken on the responsibility of publicly expressing his concerns when these core values are being compromised.

Of late, his message and opinion is that Whistler is at a critical juncture. Since we hosted the Olympics, what do we do now? He is concerned that the path that we are on doesn't have our core values at heart. He is concerned that our apparent lack of vision and lack of leadership is compromising the experience that we are offering. He is concerned that we are over built, past the tipping point, surpassing the comfortable carrying capacity of the mountains and the environment. He is concerned that the Muni will eliminate the bed unit cap and try to build our way out of our problems. He is concerned about the impact and associated optics of cutting old growth forests within our municipal boundaries. He is concerned that, regardless of the philosophical intentions, the pay parking is yet another barrier for the locals to frequent the village, further creating an "us and them" scenario, further compromising the animation and character of what should be our primary focal point. He is concerned that the never ending spending is completely out of touch with what we can afford. He is concerned that the mechanisms are not in place to encourage unique, made in Whistler solutions and enterprise, leading to the further homogenization of this place, making us the same as every other resort with their Starbucks, the Gap, Shoppers Drug Mart and the soon to be Dairy Queen. He is concerned that our path is turning us into a Disneyland in the mountains, casting around trying to cater to everybody. He is concerned that the result is, as some are beginning to appreciate, when you invite everyone to come at reduced rates, you get the crowds without the returns. He is concerned that along with the curious and the casual observers (of which there may be a remote chance of encouraging some to come back and engage) you get the gangs and the riff raff and all the spin off entailed with that crowd. He is challenging us to question the wisdom of the path that we are on... to ask ourselves if this is what we want? He is of the opinion that while it may feel busy, the situation is unsustainable without constant turnover... and how many times is a visitor going to come to ride the P2P?... once, maybe twice, but certainly not on a weekly basis. He is of the opinion that we are trying to cater to a crowd that lives very much outside of our core values. The P2P embodies all of this. Michel is a man with deep apprehension about our future.