Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Battle won but war rages on



So there's this event Saturday in Lot 1, some kind of party, protest, whatever. And people keep asking me what's going to happen. "What have you organized?" And I keep looking perplexed when they ask and finally just shrug my shoulders and say, "Beats me." Seems like a better answer than "My sock drawer."

And when you come right down to it, that's a good enough answer. See, this isn't my party, er, protest. It's yours. It'll be whatever you make of it.

Before that happens, I must make amends. Last week I wrote, "Ironically, none of the four members of the parking committee bus, bike or walk to work." My bad. Apparently at least two of them do, sometimes, bus and/or bike to work. Gentlemen, my apology.

But back to this party thing. I'll take responsibility for the idea. But in 793 columns spanning back to 1996, I've tossed out several hundred ideas, some half-baked, most even more raw than that and no one's ever had the questionable sense to actually execute any of them.

Until now.

C'est la vie. We're goin' to a party to show our collective discontent with the recently deceased Pay Parking Plan III.

Deceased? Indeed. In a very real sense, you've succeeded before you've begun. The mounting mood of discontent that's hung over Whistler since the unveiling of PPP III like a never-ending squall - okay, like this spring's weather - has been felt by our political masters. Whatever you hoped would happen in response to Saturday's turnout has already happened. You've been pre-empted by the political firestorm that raged through council chambers last Thursday morning.

In case you had to miss Thursday's 9:00 a.m. meeting - what else would you possibly be doing at that hour? - it began with an interesting, if esoteric, philosophical debate on the blurry line between money and morality. Bear with me while I briefly pose a question about the endlessly fascinating topic of asphalt. I promise to return to the more compelling topic of parking but you have a vested interest in both so hear me out.

After a long and glorious history of untendered contracts for asphalt, the RMOW finally tendered this year's call. Not surprisingly - since he's already shown a propensity for being several steps ahead of council at most junctures - the low bid was from Alpine Paving. The next lowest bid was about $170k higher.

Three councillors, including Mayor Ken who was either Skyping in from China or speaking Chinese, no one in the room was certain, favoured awarding the contract to Alpine. Their rationale was Alpine had met the conditions of the tender, including the clause requiring the asphalt to come from somewhere other than their Whistler plant, which has continued to operate in defiance of the muni's cease and desist order.