Ho, Ho, Ho. What a remarkable year it's been. A year full of Epic™ blunders and promises, brown-baggers, grossly unqualified presidents, dashed hopes, big dreams, comings and goings, it's been particularly difficult to pick just a few worthy of a 2017 Maxie. But what the heck, here we go.
MOUNTAIN TOWN — MOUNTAIN DIVISION
If You Can't Say Anything Nice...: Lost in the din of Whistler Blackcomb (WB) senior management collecting their winnings and heading home, Vail Resorts actually did some good things, to wit, lower pass prices, offer retroactive lifetime passes for 25- — instead of 30- — year WB employees and their spouses, $40 dependent passes for part-timers and... no, that's pretty much it.
Epic™ Blunder Department: I've scoured all my old management texts and searched Harvard Business Review but try as I might I can't find a single source recommending a strategy where a company buys another company that is doing a better job in the same industry — paying a huge premium no less — and then hamstrings it with antiquated operating systems just because its other divisions use them. Closest I could come was something about the tail wagging the dog... but that was under Mistakes to Avoid!
POLITICS — ALL LEVELS
Pinocchio Only Wanted to Be a Real Boy, National Division: While up for numerous Maxies this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wins the prize for telling a world-class porky by walking away from electoral reform, a key plank in his election platform, saying there was no appetite for it because, well, Canadians elected the Liberals. Oh well, there's always the Aga Khan's island for a quick getaway.
Pinocchio's Brother, Provincial Division: John Horgan, after excoriating the Site C dam project, promising to stop it, green lights it and blames it on the defeated Liberals. Man up or dam up, John, your choice, your call.
Your Concerns Are Our Concerns, Really: Weighing all the submissions, only one of which was in favour, the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Urban Development grants our local, neighbourhood-choking asphalt plant a 10-year lease extension.
That'll Show You: Notwithstanding, the RMOW continues to pay a premium to have Alpine Paving bring asphalt from its Squamish plant.
Ding, Dong The Witch... Never Mind: Christy Clark loses control of the province, hands the reins of power to the NDP, adopts its platform for her final throne speech and resigns, proving once again, if you think you've seen it all, you're wrong.
They Ain't Makin' No More of It: The RMOW ponys up $6.5 million for the Parkhurst lands on the hope of a promise of something grand to do with it in the future. Well done.
If You Can't Stand, er, Feel the Heat: Despite a tragically flawed "independent" report on Cheakamus' District Energy System, the RMOW doubles down on it for future projects. Then backs off, telling owners they can cut the tepid umbilical and install their own heating, at their own costs. Adding insult to injury, the CAO lays the blame on homeowners, saying the onus was on them to ensure they fully understood how to operate the system... despite not having the promised documentation and ignoring the fact none of the service providers can do a much better job figuring it out.
Millions For Whatever, Not One Cent for Social Services: The RMOW approves millions for a new bus terminal, millions more for an artificial turf soccer field, and contemplates a multi-million dollar gift of bed units to a private development proposal in Nordic but LOANS Whistler Community Services Society $1 million when its new building goes over budget... notwithstanding after the land lease from the muni is up — also paid for by WCSS — the muni will OWN the building. Grinch 1: Christmas 0.
Signs of Intelligent Life: Ottawa approves a pilot project to let B.C. health officials distribute clean opioids — hydromorphone — to drug users in an effort to ease the march to death brought on by fentanyl cut drugs. This is the first strategy that has made any sense.
Don't Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out: The RMOW finally hits a local homeowner with a civil claim for renting her non-zoned house nightly on Airbnb. She calls it "mean spirited" since she can't do as she wishes, despite the lack of zoning. "I don't want to stay in this community if this is the way they treat people..."
Now You See It, Now You Don't: Notwithstanding financial performance best described as, well, bankrupt, the Pemberton Music Festival sells $8 million worth of tickets... and then declares bankruptcy. Class act, guys.
Lotus Winter Wonderland: It warms Ontarians' souls to watch Vancouverites struggle with winter, the very thing that, more than anything else, defines Canadian-ness. For chrissakes people, buy a snow shovel.
Whistler Winter Wonderland: And while there was freaking in Vancouver, there was joy in Tiny Town as winter 2016-17 brought the kind of snow conditions we'll brag about in our dotage. One to remember.
It's Not You... Well, It Is You: The community gathered on Jan. 17 for a rousing discussion on ways to ease our gridlock. After all of that, turns out we are the problem. The action plans to date include pay parking and telling us not to drive so much. Sorry.
Sometimes You Can't Give It Away For Free: Marketplace merchants feel the wrath of the righteously indignant when the parking lots' owners — not the merchants — institute pay parking, sort of. First hour is free. Oh, the humanity.
Best New Nosh: Hunter Gather, although wouldn't Hunt Gather be more grammatically correct? Or Hunter Gatherer? Nitpicking aside, can't imagine a better end for a 7-Eleven.
Don't Tell Me, Let Me Guess: Winter 2016-17 was — yawn — the biggest ever for Whistler in terms of visitation, spawning the discouraging words: overtourism, growth, gridlock, and, of course, brown-baggers.
We Shall Carry On, Won't We?: The little festival that could, the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, loses its last link to the past when Sue Eckersley moves on. Thanks for all the wonderful memories and hard work.
Places in Our Hearts: No award, no real Maxie, but moments of remembrance, sadness and joyful memories for all those who have left us this year, many far too soon.