Well, it's that time of year. The votes have been tallied; the decision of the judge is final. Here are just some of the things worthy of a coveted Maxi, 2012 edition. So many came so close but these stood above the rest.
The Right Message, Wrong Audience Award: Our friends at Blue Highways for their very touching Father's Day ad. "Make Dad Feel Really Good This Father's Day, Get Mum a Brazilian Wax." What exactly do you tell your eight-year-old when he/she says, "Mummy, what's a Brazilian wax and why will Daddy like it?" Classy, really classy.
The Right Place, Right Time Award: Michael Audain and his wife decide Whistler's former impound yard would make a perfect place for a museum to house their incredible collection of art. No, seriously. The dance has been danced, the deal has been signed. In one bold move, the face of art in Whistler is changed forever. Wow!
They Said it Couldn't Be Done, Pt. I: No increase in property taxes for 2012? Impossible. Well, on second thought, possible... and done. New Way, 1; Old Way, 0.
They Said it Couldn't Be Done, Pt. II: Roll back pay parking? Impossible. Well, on second thought, possible... and mostly done. Lots 4 & 5 are free again, revenue is ahead of projections, costs are only 60 per cent of projections. Rates are reduced at the Conference Centre and Library. No one is bitching. New Way, 2; Old Way, 0.
They Said it Couldn't Be Done, Pt. III: Find a way to finally deal with illegal space in Whistler's housing stock? Impossible. Well... distasteful as it may be to reward the cheaters, the compromise is way better than continuing to kick the problem down the road. New Way, 3, Old Way, 0.
They Said it Couldn't Be Done, Pt. IV: Whistleratics feeling all warm and fuzzy about their local government? Impossible. Well, on second thought, possible... and downright lovey-dovey. Public trust in local government has never been as high as it is right now. Heck, it's practically a love-in. New Way, 4, Old Way, 0. Game and match.
The Spread Your Wings and Crash to the Ground Award: After laughable delays and gross mismanagement — Gee, you actually need a boiler to make that heat tracing thing work? — Whistler Health Care Centre's helipad finally gets Transport Canada's approval to reopen. Problem is, only for duel-engine choppers, which would be OK except the vast majority of helivacs are done with single-engine machines. Don't know how many bodies it'll take to light a fire under Vancouver Coastal Health but this is the "management" where your healthcare dollars are wasted, folks.
Fortunately, X Didn't Mark the Spot: ESPN got the MotherCorp drooling over the possibility of Whistler hosting an expansion of the X Games. The Muni went along to the tune of $250k. As luck — good — would have it, Whistler wasn't picked. Maybe that was because the enlightened programmers at ESPN decided to gut the skiing and snowboarding events and focus on the, ugh, snowmobile competitions (sic, or sick). We dodged the bullet and WSSF is all the better for it.
Arrogance Knows No Nationality Award: To climbers Jason Kruk and Hayden Kennedy, who took it upon themselves to travel to Patagonia, climb Cerro Torre and remove 125 bolts from a route they had no right to alter. And only one of them was an Ugly American. May your placements be sketchy and your ropes be frayed, boys.
But I've Never Seen a Bear S*#t in the Woods Award: To the resident(s) of 19-Mile Creek who objected to the Conservation Officer's order to remove mountain ash berries in order to keep bears from encroaching on the neighbourhood. Let's see the arguments were, (1) we didn't plant them why do we have to deal with them, (2) why are you picking on us when others have mountain ash trees, and (3) I've never seen bears eat the berries. Well hey, if you've never seen it happen it must be a myth.
The Wizard of Oz's Brain Award: To the scarecrows on Tourism Whistler's board that forced Councilor Faulkner off because they couldn't distinguish between a conflict of interest and the potential for conflict over his position with Squamish's Sea-to-Sky gondola. "I would not be just a nothin,' my head all full of stuffin', My heart all full of pain. I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry, If I only had a brain."
Money May Not Make Us Happy But it Certainly Keeps Us Entertained Award: The RMOW receives assurances from the provincial government RMI funding will continue with $34 million coming our way between 2012 and 2016... which is at least three years longer than this provincial government is expected to remain in power. I'm not worried.
And the Walls Came Tumblin' Down Award: I'm never sure if I'd be more comfortable living below the rock walls at Rainbow than I am living on top of one but with the remediation work being done, the falling rocks and walls, I won't be entirely surprised to wake up on the other side of Highway 99 one morning.
Thank You, I'd Rather Not Think About It Award: He's ruined Canada's reputation in the eyes of the world, he's selling off our future, muzzling our scientists, despoiling our landscape, mismanaging our finances, incarcerating petty and imaginary criminals, and systematically dismantling those qualities that make Canada, Canada. You know who he is and I'd rather vomit than say his name.
There's RMI Money to Fix That Award: For all the delicate flowers who mistook condos in the centre of town with retirement homes, I'm hoping the muni can spend some RMI money for earplugs so the continuing noise of people having fun in Olympic Plaza doesn't disturb them too much.
White Elephant, Black Hole Award: With an operating deficit big enough to choke an elephant, Whistler Sports Legacies can, nonetheless, find $1.7 million to upgrade the Sliding Centre, $800,000 for consultants to do a safety audit on a track the FIS said was safe — and if it isn't, why isn't the company who built or designed it on the hook — and $60,000 to hold a one-day ski jumping event all while crying for and receiving a tax holiday for all of their venues. Glad we don't have too many Olympic legacies like that.
Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful: And let us all get down on our knees and give thanks to Ullr. Whistler enjoyed snow last ski season when few other places did. Business was up every month and many set records. The early season we're celebrating right now is the very best kind of rerun. Let it snow.
All in the Family Award: Finally, after decades of talk, a Canadian holiday in the dark, dreary days of February. I'll celebrate your family if you'll celebrate mine.