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‘We have a process in place, let’s use it’

Quinlan calls for more decisiveness, accountability in bid for council

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Chris Quinlan, in a word, is engaged. He’s a familiar face at Whistler Council meetings, a familiar voice in the Letters to the Editor section, and is involved with groups like the Whistler Arts Council, the Whistler Health Care Foundation, and various Whistler 2020 planning committees.

He’s also the latest person to announce his intention to run for Whistler Council in the Nov. 19 civic elections.

Quinlan ran for council in 2002, where he was one of 18 candidates vying for six seats on council, including six incumbents vying for re-election. Only three challengers were successful.

While Quinlan still has a lot of the same concerns he had in 2002, his approach to addressing those issues has changed.

"If you look at the last time I ran for council I was more of a reactionary to what was going on, or what wasn’t going on," he said. "This time I have had the opportunity to work with (municipal) staff on (Whistler 2020) focus groups and see up close what works for Whistler and what doesn’t. More amazing than that was this amazing process that we went through."

According to Quinlan the resources to solve all of Whistler’s ongoing issues – whether it’s the future of the Paralympic arena or deciding where and how to build the next phase of staff housing – already exist.

"It’s within municipal resources, it’s within the community," he said. "Everything can be looked at within the framework of Whistler 2020 and how that was achieved."

If council followed the same process, using 2020 as a guide, it would have more confidence making key decisions on behalf of Whistler – decisions Quinlan worries are not being made in a timely way.

"If we used the same process with all of the Olympic planning we could have issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) for those facilities two years ago," he said.

The delay in planning and making decisions on issues that council has known would come up since Whistler won the Olympic bid has been costly, with the price of building materials, fuel and labour skyrocketing in the past few years. "The library is the same thing as the arena," said Quinlan. "The longer we wait the more things are going to cost us."

Quinlan also pointed out that Squamish District Council met with newly elected MLA Joan McIntyre three times since the provincial election, before Whistler Council met with her once. Squamish also came up with and approved a viable plan to host the proposed Paralympic arena, including corporate partners and a Junior A hockey team, in just six months.

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