Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

The brainstorming continues

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There's no snow on top of the local mountain, won't be for months. I'm about to plunge back into the 8 th Ring of Hell - Phoenix, where they're "enjoying" record heat, which is to say in excess of 110°F - before turning the car north and punching "Home" into the GPS. I haven't worn long pants since sometime in July and probably won't for another couple of weeks. But I'd gladly trade for the cold mornings, too-frequent rain and shoulder season angst of Tiny Town as I complete my Backyard Barbeque Brainstorm workbook.

 

"What are the (5) most important issues facing Whistler in the next 10 years?"

Growth : We've lived somewhat comfortably under an umbrella of limited growth for years now. The bed unit cap has been that umbrella and as we begin to bump up against it we're likely to discover, more and more, it doesn't keep the rain out.

Developers aren't going to disappear because we've reached some arbitrary limit. They'll keep coming, sniping at lands just outside municipal boundaries like some recent developments. While there's nothing immoral, illegal or inherently wrong with that, it's a dilemma for the town: ignore it or expand to incorporate it and, thus, grow. Outlying projects leech, for lack of a better word, off the town with no commensurate property taxes. The pressure to expand is hard to resist but growth is growth however you achieve it.

Whistler Standard : I'm still not sure exactly what this is but I do know it makes everything we do, from bus stops to roadwork, very expensive and therefore poses the question, can we afford what we aspire to become?

Whistler 2020 : As a planning document, Whistler 2020 is a great piece of work; the town can be rightly proud. As a lens through which to view decision-making, it is a useful filter. But as a set of directives that can't be breached, it is a dangerous straightjacket.

All plans, even the best ones, are a snapshot of a moment in time. They embody the goals and desires of the planners; they are aspirational. But they are also, or should be, living documents capable of adjustment to changing realities. We wouldn't follow the best map over a washed-out bridge just because the map said it was the way to go. Or would we?

Ad Hoc Planning : Yet, despite an award winning plan, despite all the strategic planning undertaken in the past decade, we never seemed to get around to updating the Official Community Plan and continue to make - or attempt to make - long-term decisions on an ad hoc basis. Which leads to a big honking bus terminal in a place we probably wouldn't have wanted it had the issue been addressed earlier, a massive bunfight over a piddly asphalt plant and other examples too depressing to mention.

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