Name: Michael d'Artois
Occupation: Realtor, managed and owned real estate company for 22 years.
Last book read: Angels and Demons, reading Catastrophe, by Richard Posner.
Music: Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Jesse Cook, Andrea Bocelli.
Favourite recreational pursuits: golf, tennis, skiing, biking, walking the
1. Why are you running for council?
I am a 30-year resident with an extensive background in community participation. I now can afford the time to contribute as a councillor. I am very aware of the current issues facing the community and would like to be part of the solutions.
2/3. What are the biggest issues facing Whistler and what needs to be done to address those issues?
Tourism is down and as a result we have fewer visitors and empty beds. Factors beyond our control are in large measure responsible for the current economic malaise. A municipality has few weapons to counter this situation. However helping to provide the resources to Tourism Whistler and the business community to target our most reliable markets Vancouver and the Northwest we can help ourselves through this downturn.
Financial Tools: The Financial Tools discussion must move forward with bold and creative ideas and less restrictive conditions on money received. With additional resources we can better promote the Whistler product and support our infrastructure without undue pressure on the community.
Preserving our natural environment for the benefit of future generations. Overriding all issues is the preservation of our natural environment. This ties in with our economy as it is the primary reason we have visitors. The soon to be enacted Protected Area Network Bylaw will give definition as to how we can help achieve this.
Resident Housing and Affordability. Whistler has done more for resident housing per capita than any community in Canada. Since 1985 Whistler has established an extensive array of housing types to accommodate both seasonal and permanent residents. We are meeting our goal to house 75 per cent of our work force in Whistler (currently 4,300 people) and there are several developments on the drawing board to help maintain this goal.
Affordability issues span the valley. As long as we are tenants in our own town affordability will always be an issue. We must find the means to allow our business owners to own their commercial spaces. Rent uncertainty every three years is not an option. Ownership financed over 25 years is an option.
On the same theme, why not amortize residential mortgages over 50 years instead of 25? How many more people could afford to buy if this were in place today?
And property taxes will become more and more unaffordable. So why not lobby Victoria to change the assessment formula. Instead of pegging the mill rate to an annual assessment tied to market values lets consider what has been done in California. The assessed value is pegged to the value at the time of sale or title transfer. There it stays until it sells again. A new buyer will know the assessed value and his property tax. This must be done if we are to keep fixed income homeowners in their homes and in our community.
The lot 1/9 opportunity and the Larco rezoning as well as the Holburn rezoning are contentious issues. We have undergone an exhausting process for each of these issues. The challenge to our collective values is upon us. Lot 1/9 will provide the development the community has long waited for. Let's make it work!
And the community is very engaged with the rezonings. We will achieve the best result for the community as a result.
Class 1/6 tax issue. This is a longtime coming and hopefully will be settled for the next tax assessment year. This will provide equity in our tax regime for a new classification of property tax. This could also assist in reducing the commercial (class 6) taxes which have increased disproportionately to the residential tax rate.
4. How will Whistler 2020 help us?
The 2020 document is our blueprint for the near future. The entrenched values will guide us in response to many of the issues facing us. This is our community plan. Who we are, where we are going and how we will get there. This is the Sustainability Bible. If we hold to it future generations will enjoy whistler as much as we have.
5. Name three things you expect to accomplish in this councils term.
A beautiful, functional multi-purpose facility on lots 1/9.
Resident housing development to reduce the lengthy list of waiting residents.
Break 80 at golf.