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Snowbus service denied by commission

The municipality will continue to support a young entrepreneur and his dream of alternative bus service between Whistler and Vancouver despite a recent ruling by the Motor Carrier Commission that takes the Snowbus off the road.

The Snowbus service operated for three months last season, charging travellers $29 roundtrip from Vancouver to Whistler. The young proponent of the idea, Joktan Elbert, wanted to provide a cheaper alternative to Greyhound, where a roundtrip ticket costs $43. The service was geared to the younger traveller and it was an attempt to break through the monopoly on the bus service in the Sea to Sky corridor. Greyhound is currently the only scheduled bus service through the corridor.

Recently the MCC shut down the Snowbus but Elbert will not be defeated in his goal.

"I am not going to quit and I will make this happen," said Elbert.

"We will work strenuously to improve the financial/operational side of the business by providing greater details inclusive of a comprehensive safety plan."

Elbert said the MCC made its decision based on its mandate to promote safety on the highways, among other things.

At Monday’s council meeting Elbert asked Whistler council members to support him again in his reapplication to the MCC.

"We have supported you in your numerous attempts to get this going and I don’t see why we wouldn’t support you in the future," said Councillor Ken Melamed.

Councillor Kristi Wells added: "As you are learning, the bureaucratic side can be a little challenging... It’s a learning process that’s for sure."

Chamber looking for big jump in grant-in-aid funding

The Whistler Chamber of Commerce is asking the municipality to increase its grant-in-aid funding by $115,000.

In previous years the chamber has received $35,000 from the municipality’s grants-in-aid fund. This year they’re looking for $150,000.

Ian Davis, chair of the chamber, outlined the reasons for the need for more funding at Monday’s council meeting.

He pointed to the demand for increased services from the chamber, like a summer Spirit Pass program. This pass would act in much the same way as the winter Spirit Pass, giving employees discounts on some of the local amenities.

Another recent change guaranteed to drive up costs is the move from the Creekside location to the new Gatehouse building in the village on March 1.

"The chamber has enjoyed a very long and very free ride (in Creekside)," said Davis.

They will now have to pay for their new facility, as well as staff it.

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