Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Anatomy of Change – Part III



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I want a mayor who will investigate thoroughly, act decisively and speak publicly on the kinds of allegations contained in the complaint filed by Jim Dunn against certain municipal employees, instead of having the muni’s lawyers write threatening letters to the media warning them of dire legal consequences should they publish those allegations.

I want a mayor who will personally work closely and positively with the provincial government to improve Whistler’s standing in Victoria. We’ve mishandled a marvellous opportunity to do just that the past several years, years when the flow of tax dollars from Whistler to Victoria was one of the few positive economic notes in a bankrupt symphony. Why remains a mystery to me but with much of the rest of B.C.’s economy now buoyant, our leverage to effect change has diminished. We still need a broader array of financial tools; we still need property tax reform to recognize the imbalance between residential and commercial that defines such a broad swath of strata-titled property in Whistler and we need greater autonomy to influence development at our fringes if this Quixotic experiment in sustainability is ever going to get off the ground.

Speaking of financial tools, I want a mayor who will open a frank discussion with the community about just what the heck that term means. Candidate Nebbeling says we already have financial tools he delivered when he was Minister Nebbeling. Various councillors say that’s BS unless financial tools begin and end at jigging the resort tax. Aloha O’Reilly says Flash Gordon promised to deliver financial tools as a going away present but then Flash still claims he only had one martini and two glasses of wine in Maui. So just exactly what do the people of this town believe we need – or don’t need – as financial tools to move us a baby step away from our reliance on property taxes while not picking the pockets of our guests?

I want a mayor who won’t be so dazzled by the Olympics that VANOC winds up running roughshod over our community and saddles us with soul and money sapping white elephants come March of 2010. Why, for example, can they find the dough to plough 60 or 80 million bucks into a ridiculous, environmentally catastrophic, unsustainable bobsleigh track which will not only not be a legacy of any lasting value to the community but will, in all likelihood, be a money and resource drain until the day it’s torn down, and at the same time be unable to pony up more than half the dough needed to build the sledge hockey arena which, arguably, might have some value after the Olympics leave town? Did you know the bobsleigh event was cancelled at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics when the town and organizing committee refused to build a track because they considered it a waste of money? Strange but true.