Rounding out the list of candidates for Whistler's Oct. 28 byelection is Alon Rimon, an Israeli Air Force veteran who served during the first Gulf War.
Rimon declined to be interviewed by Pique, but agreed to answer some questions by email.
PIQUE: Tell us a bit about yourself.
ALON RIMON: I was Born in Israel, immigrated to Canada in 1995 in search of snow after serving in the Israeli Air Force during the first Gulf War.
Living in Whistler since 2010, I'm a hard-working, "blue-collar" FedEx courier who's been driving/walking around town for seven years daily talking to locals, WHA owners, tourists, business owners and seasonal workers so I have a unique perspective and knowledge of what's going on in town. I'm a Whistler Blackcomb employee (bike park vollie), a biker and a snowboarder.
Unlike most candidates and councillors, I am on the WHA list (#186) and need a home, so naturally my "self-serving agenda" is to create affordable housing for low-income local workers.
PIQUE:What made you want to run for council? What do you hope to bring to the table?
AR: Whistler is getting bad press (Globe & Mail, Oct. 28, 2016), that will affect us ALL!
Too many housing-committee decisions are made behind (closed) doors.
Council needs a fresh mind with unconventional ideas in order to solve its housing problem. I'm an enthusiastic "big dreamer" with a plan who thinks out of the box — I want to help get us there.
WHA owners keep looking for loopholes to keep their unit as "income property" while I personally can't find a home. It goes against the "housing local workers close to their workplace" concept and further disunites our community.
WHA needs to ask for bi-annual proof of income from their employer (ie. pay stubs).
PIQUE: What do you see as the biggest issues facing Whistler right now? How do you plan on addressing them?
AR: Whistler community isn't united. Established Whistlerites won't allow newcomers to have the same help and opportunities they demanded and made available for themselves in the past, some of them are RMOW shot callers and housing is just not on top of their priorities because they don't need it — at least until their own kids need housing.
We have to keep WHA neighbourhoods free of open-market developments to achieve a long-term, local, sustainable community, lower transportation emissions by prioritizing affordable housing in Whistler for short work commutes for local workers, and prioritize funding for projects which contribute to our resort's success like opening a Cornell University campus (one of the best tourism schools).
Vail (Resorts') expansion plans will happen, it's out of our control. It makes for a lot of frustrated locals, heavy traffic volume and crowding, I don't think we need to run away though — with careful planning, we can turn this "threat" to our advantage as it will create more jobs.
PIQUE: What would your priorities be if elected for this one-year term? Do you plan to run for a full term in 2018 if elected?
AR: I will be running next year!
My priorities are solving our immediate need for workers housing for THIS season, trying to make my housing plan a reality and stop a few existing RMOW plans before it's too late.
For more on Rimon and his campaign find him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/alon.rimon.10.