Opinion » Editorial

Looking back and looking forward...

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Can it really be 20 years since the Pique published its first edition?

I'm not going to get sentimental on you — suffice it to say that being the editor of a newsmagazine like Pique is like having an extra child. Pique's co-founder, and its editor and publisher until last year, Bob Barnett, would tell you the same thing — and like a child it can bring great joy but also great angst!

That angst started for Bob on Day 1. The story of Pique's first edition on November 25 of 1994 is now local journalism lore, and remains one of my favourite stories — I can just imagine Bob, his wife Kathy and their "team" burning the midnight oil to get the paper to print.

"The very first issue was 28 pages," said Bob in July 2013 at the time the paper was sold to Glacier Media Group.

"We sat down on Wednesday morning to start putting the paper together, and then the sun went down on Wednesday and we were still working on it.

"The sun came up on Thursday morning and we were still working, and we'd missed our press deadline. Meanwhile, Kathy and I were going on Mountain FM at noon to talk about the newspaper coming out... even though it probably wasn't going to happen.

"We finally made it down to the printers sometime on Thursday night, and of course we missed our scheduled time but they managed to squeeze us in on Friday, so it was Saturday morning before we were distributing the paper with Friday's date on it."

That first production was also hampered by a power outage in Function Junction thanks to someone knocking a tree on to a power line, so that the whole operation — three employees and three computers at the time — had to move to Kathy and Bob's home.

Most advertisers weren't too fussed with the delay, said Bob. "I think most people bought ads just to be nice, they didn't expect we'd stick around and that they would have to do it every week."

But Pique did stick around — and it's been hitting the newsstands for over 1,040 weeks now. Along the way the newsmagazine has re-invented itself several times, staff has come and gone, social media was embraced, and awards have been won. But one constant over the years has been the drive for excellence and the desire for Pique to be relevant to its community.

Part of its connection to the community, and unique in publications across Canada, are the amazing covers created by the paper's talented team of designers, or commissioned from local artists.

Stop for a moment and imagine the art that has been brought to the community — stop for a moment and recall the stories that embody the Whistler life. Pique has shared them all, explained what they mean and how they connect us to the rest of the world.

You will see that reflected in stories in this week's edition as well. Yes, there is a new council in place, but it is part of a bigger picture in politics — the growing number of women in government. The United Nations defines 30 per cent as the minimal percentage of women required for government to reflect women's concerns.

For the first time Whistler council will have a council split 50/50 along gender lines and a female mayor. Pemberton's council is also a majority female one, and Squamish has a new female mayor along with two female councillors.

Of course the results are about whom voters thought were best for the job — I doubt anyone was voting for someone along gender lines. But the context is that the Sea to Sky reflects what is happening across the nation.

Leaving aside the "big picture" for now, there is little doubt that there will be adjustments as this new council settles in.

We have already had a heated exchange between re-elected Andree Janyk and new councillor Steve Anderson — a public display that resulted in them being spoken to separately by Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Sunday.

That is one of the interesting things about local government — the "leader," or mayor has not picked the team, they have been chosen by hundreds of voters for their own reasons.

However, to accomplish common objectives for the growth and success of the community, council members have to put aside their egos and get down to work with honesty and integrity... and compromise must be part of that equation.

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