At the cusp of August and September, September being the eve of October, October being the month of municipal elections, it seems time to check in on the race for mayor of Tiny Town.
Well, that didn't take long.
So far, we have Happy Jack challenging the Campagne de Fous with only a glimmer of other potential candidates on the horizon. Of course, much could change between now and Sept. 14, the last day potential candidates can file their nomination papers. Or maybe nothing will change.
Those being the choices, perhaps it's time to weigh in on candidate Crompton's platform, as far as we know it, and see how it stacks up to the Never-Ending Party's platform, weighing the two on the Campagne de Fous-O-Meter. Yeah, maybe it is.
Jack's platform is, he says, built on four pillars. This in itself is troubling. Four pillars are inherently unstable. Four require a well-laid foundation, level and true. That's why photographers use a tripod, not a quadpod. Of course, that doesn't explain why three-wheeled off-road trikes were banned—they flipped over all the time—but platforms don't come with engines and should only move with the times. Three is stable; four is wobbly.
But that's OK because at least one of the four is probably smoke and mirrors. I'll let you figure out which one.
Jack's first pillar is housing. Ditto the Never-Ending Party. Jack wants to build the next phase of Cheakamus Crossing. So does N-EP. But that's just the start. The Party also wants to axe the private developer nonsense included in the Mayor's Task Force. It's a gift private developers don't need, from a task force upon which sat a, surprise, private developer who now has a development proposal before the municipality authorized by said Task Force. I believe that qualifies, at a minimum, as a perceived conflict of interest.
Jack's been mum on the nuking of the board of Whistler Development Corp. Not so the Party. We believe an apology and a sincere plea to come back and finish what they started makes more sense than WDC 2.0 and a slew of overpaid consultants and managers.
"Pursuing Village-based dormitory housing for employees," is part of Jack's housing pillar. The Party thinks this is nonsense, unless what he means is urging Vail to build more staff housing, which it should. Immediately. Instead of squandering money on a suspension bridge sideshow.
As for a 30-year housing plan, surely you jest. There isn't a soul alive or dead who, in 1988 could have imagined what this town would be like in 2018. That's a pipe dream, the kind of pipe you'll be able to suck on legally after Oct. 17.
The N-EP's housing plan also includes finally giving serious thought to moving the muni works yard down to the old Capilano Highways works yard and turning that flat stretch of—serviced—asphalt into low-cost, employee housing. And turning nine of the 18 holes of the muni golf course into employee and senior housing.
I think it's clear who has the better platform on housing.
The second pillar of Jack's campaign is the environment. The Party will have to concede his first point to him, pursuing a reduction in single-use consumption of all kinds. That's because we don't have a clue what it means. Is he talking about food? Or that greenwashing campaign for eliminating plastic grocery bags, just about the only plastic bag that might be used more than once. Does he mean all plastic? Like green garbage bags? Like that ridiculous packaging some people buy salad in? We plead no contest.
As to delivering on the Community and Energy Climate Action Plan, the Party believes Whistler is talking the talk but not walking the walk. No one in power has the stones to tell restaurants they have to stop melting snow all winter so patrons can sit under or next to propane-fuelled heaters on their patios. Heck, they won't even make businesses close their freakin' doors when it's -20C out. And they're giving once-through cooling criminals another couple of years to stop wasting rivers of drinking water. The Party calls BS.
And as soon as he tells us who's going to pay for regional transit and how much it's going to cost, we'll discuss that.
Mayor, er, Councillor Crompton's Invest in Whistler pillar foresees a new home for the museum, finishing the Valley Trail, finding more daycare, conjuring a transit lane on the highway and investing in local trails. All good things. Even the ones that aren't within the role of municipal government. Like daycare. And highways. But good things. The Party concedes this pillar. We wouldn't touch the museum with the proverbial 10-foot pole.
The fourth pillar is more of a stump than pillar. More local artists on stage—already done. Support local business through village zoning. Does that mean banning chains? Curbing foreign investment? Buying the mountains back from Vail? I told you there were only three pillars.
And then there are the planks in the N-EP's platform that are mysteriously absent from the 3.2 pillars. Not a word on downsizing/rightsizing the resort. Instead of chasing the elusive goal of resort bed occupancy, the Party would declare victory by removing a number of the Benchland condos from the resort lands, thus boosting occupancy numbers to the hoped-for level and increasing the value of those now exclusively residential condos.
Not a word about a moratorium on shooting bears and, instead, creating a unique visitor experience with the semi-tame Whistler Bear Follies. A petting zoo for the kiddies, the Running of the Bears every après down the Village Stroll, bear wrestling in the bars at night and all the publicity money can't buy.
No uptake on the Party's Thumbs Up!, organized hitch-hiking proposal as an alternative to cooling your heels waiting for a Whistler Transit bus to show up. This key adjunct to transit would let car drivers feel better about driving, provide spur-of-the-moment rides and allow drivers to earn parking credits. Not to mention bringing us closer together and generating that warm feeling you get giving someone a ride.
And, not surprisingly, the candidate isn't going anywhere near the Party's keystone proposal to secede from Canada and establish the Resort Principality of Whistler. Heck, Jack, you could be Prince, not just Mayor. Where's your sense of grandeur?
And so, we're pretty sure which platform moved the Fous-O-Meter's needle further. But then, the game was rigged, wasn't it? All the best to you, Jack, as we enter the test of metal...or is that meddle? May the best platform win.