Opinion » Editorial

We can create change



It is often easy to decide that we can't really create change.

We can't possibly tackle climate change, we can't get real accountability from government, we can't affect, say, health policy.

The cynic in all of us just wants to put our heads down, do our jobs well, raise our kids and recycle.

But recent developments in our little corner of the world should encourage everyone to look up and see that public pressure may indeed have a positive effect (never mind the Arab Spring, and even the student protests in Quebec — but that's another whole editorial).

With six months of work behind them the new municipal council has already moved on some long-standing issues, such as illegal space and pay parking — issues many in the community have been asking for movement on.

I'm not suggesting that former councillors and mayor weren't working hard — in fact reviews were underway with just-hired CEO Mike Furey in place when the election changed the landscape of local government.

But there is no escaping the fact that residents made a clean sweep with their votes — they voted for change, and it looks like change is what they got.

While I think it is too soon to say if our new political leaders have won over the town, there is a feeling of optimism about local government.

That is important right now as we see businesses closing, the struggle to stay afloat too much for some even with a pretty good winter under our belts.

And with the global economy still struggling we would be foolish to think things will get much easier.

What people don't need right now is a local government that isn't listening. I might be going out on a limb here, but I think most of us feel it's bad enough having a federal government like that without dealing with it at home.

As an aside, Pique had a chance to chat with some former fisheries ministers this week for a story and even the Conservative ones are concerned about how Harper's omnibus budget bill could impact our salmon and streams. These are weighty voices putting pressure on, and it will be interesting to see what, if any, movement there is.

But back to Whistler: There are some significant issues still to be dealt with in the coming months by council, such as WhistlerU and the asphalt plant.

I think there is little doubt that many who voted for Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden believed that bringing her in as leader would mean the end of the asphalt plant at Cheakamus Crossing.

With the courts involved these issues are never black and white, and though public sentiment wanted the plant moved the courts ruled it could stay. For now, it seems that it is enough that council has appointed Eric Martin, president of Whistler Development Corporation, the organization that built the athletes' village, to meet with Frank Silveri, the plant's owner to try and work out a future plan.