Page 3 of 3
Which segues nicely into the cosmic question of who exactly is running things around here.
I suspect the answer — or more accurately the perceived answer — to this question is the culprit behind the low voter turnout. The cynical, and perhaps not-so cynical, believe senior muni staff is calling the tune. Despite protests and assurances from the mayor that such isn’t the case, there have been too many examples in the recent past of staff making policy, changing established policy or simply ignoring policy set by mayor and council.
More fundamentally though — and probably more accurately — there’s a strong perception the five-ring circus is pulling the strings and Whistler’s dancing like a compliant marionette. The Olympics, embodied by VANOC, the IOC, COC and both senior levels of government, appear to be if not in charge, at least very, very influential when it comes to what’s going down in Tiny Town. Whether that’s the case or not, perception is reality, as several candidates were wont to observe during the campaign. And perception thrives in the absence of some more compelling reality to crowd it out.
That’s something the mayor and new council will have to grapple with. And I wish them well in their efforts. New councils are always the embodiment of hope, even if it’s the hope of a smaller percentage of the people who live here. You’re all big boys and I have no advice to give that you want to hear on how to deal with this issue.
But for you new councillors, I do have one tip. When you attend your getting-to-know-you retreat, take your own food and drink… and stay away from the Kool-aid, no matter how tempting it seems.