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Maxed Out

Any ideas? The time has come

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By G.D. Maxwell

Why isn’t Ken Achenbach running for mayor?

I don’t know Ken. Or maybe I do but, like so many other people in this town, don’t know I do because we’ve never actually exchanged names or aliases. For all I know he might be a crackpot, although given the current choices for mayor that may be a requirement this year.

But his letter last week was wonderful. It captured the spirit that used to ooze through this town, a spirit that was corralled and damn near extinguished in our most recent quest to become famously known as the town with the best damn strategic plan in the solar system.

It was a reminder of the kind of thinking that made this town what it was and hopefully can become again – vibrant, alive, dancing on the edge and leading the way.

It didn’t come from a team of overpaid consultants. It didn’t take half a decade to come to the point. It wasn’t bound in phonebook-size volumes. It didn’t obsess about what its ‘brand’ is.

And it made so much sense it’ll probably never get taken seriously.

If you missed it, Ken’s idea was spawned in response to Tourism Whistler’s request for proposals for some smart cookie to devise a use for the driving range during winter when its current use is as a field of snow. TW wants someone to create a family-oriented attraction that can be dismantled – or melt – by the time golfers feel the urge to feed their addiction to go smack balls in the spring.

But Ken one-upped them. Why not rip out the driving range entirely and build a surf park?

Why not indeed, whatever a surf park is.

One of the many hits the outgoing administration of Aloha O’Reilly has taken is its sheeplike reliance on outside consultants to do the heavy lifting. "Why," the lament goes, "are we looking outside for ideas when there are so many smart, talented people living here we can engage if we can get them off their mountain bikes long enough to actually contribute something?"

Let’s face it, what we’ve heard so far from the people actually running for office is exciting enough to make you want to roll over and go back to sleep.

Whether it’s the stillborn idea of an airport that’ll cost a bundle and bring close to zero incremental bodies to town or whether it’s the almost holy grail-like status the sludge hockey arena has achieved as the panacea for our ills, the excitement factor, the coefficient of Wow, the gee-I-want-to-go-to-Whistler buzz being generated is outstanding only in its complete absence.

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