Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Waste not... want not?



If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions then the Devil is in the details. Like so many idioms and proverbs, this one is in direct opposition to the one that states God is in the details. I find it hard to believe, after their falling out, they could both be in the same details but it makes me feel better about being a big picture guy as opposed to detail oriented.

However uncharacteristic, I was thinking a lot about details over the weekend. To raise some money for local charities, I volunteered to be fodder for the Warrior Dash. It's one of those diabolical events designed to look like fun while actually being the kind of obstacle course most military recruits do almost anything to avoid. Indeed, it is described by the people who run it as, "...a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from Hell...."

Running from Hell suggests that's where the start line is, so one would assume the organizers are more than familiar with details. Given the tightly worded waiver of liability they made volunteers sign, it's safe to say their lawyers certainly are.

But this isn't really about the Warrior Dash. It's more about ideology, dogma and where the burden of dragging those heavy loads fall.

Whistler is in the tourist business and, rightly, we'll do just about anything to bring tourists to town. I have no argument with that; it's the bargain we've struck. And as much as we want to be a shining beacon of sustainability to the rest of the world, bashing people over the head with their own unsustainable behaviours isn't the way to boost tourism or reward those who've come to have a good time and spray cash around town. We love you all; please come back.

Having said that, we did host the Olympics - proving we'll do just about anything to bring tourists to town - and we did, kinda, have some language in there about sound environmental practices, greenest games ever, blah, blah, blah.

So this is what I observed on Saturday. It started off with the organizer's waiver proudly telling me I would, for the opportunity to volunteer, receive a nifty tee shirt and a free parking pass. I have to admit, I felt a little bit silly putting a free parking pass on my dashboard to park in Lot 8, which is still free anyway but... details.

Yet, it raised in my mind a question about the sustainability of embracing an event - expected to draw 4,600 participants and a small army of volunteers - staged in a place where there's really no viable alternative to driving and even going so far as to, gulp, distribute free parking passes. Fortunately, there was a good breeze and I'm sure most of the CO 2 blew on up to Pemberton to feed the potatoes.