Max stated the Whistler Film Festival is aspirational, reaching beyond its grasp. WFF's request for $300,000 is not based on hopes and dreams, but on great business opportunities for our resort. (Pique, March 29)
In 2011, Whistler got its $275,000 RMI investment back in municipal taxes alone. The economic impact was $5.1 million for B.C. and $2.8 million for Whistler. There was $13.4 million in national and international media coverage. Value for Whistler was $18.5 million — a return on investment over 6,700 per cent!
There are three opportunities, which make the RMI investment a no-brainer. The first is Variety, Hollywood's bible, the most influential entertainment publication in the world. Variety endorses 30 festivals of 2,000 worldwide, and they love Whistler. They said, "We will put Whistler on the map in Hollywood. That puts you on the map in the world." George Clooney walking down the stroll. That is good for tourism.
The second is the China Canada Gateway For Film. Whistler will be a major centre for filmmakers to do co-productions with China. The Canadian government, B.C., Canadian Media Producers and China Film Group all endorse it. The Gateway will bring visitors.
The third opportunity is with a leading Canadian television, Internet and radio company. They are helping Whistler Film Festival take off and are offering the resort a list of benefits that will blow your socks off.
This $300,000 will grow tourism. The $18.5 million from 2011 will reach $35 million by 2020 or sooner. And that makes good business sense for Whistler.
Fee for Service crucial to Chamber projects
On behalf of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce (WCC), I'd like to provide clarification regarding GD Maxwell's (Pique) column "Time for less is more?" on March 29, 2012.
Approximately 80 per cent of the WCC's annual operating budget is funded by Core revenues i.e. membership fees, event and program registration fees, office and boardroom rentals, sponsorship funds etc. Since 2007, the balance of approximately 20 per cent has been funded by Fee for Service, awarded by the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) so that WCC can undertake projects that, although delivered via the business community, benefit the community at large. Examples include the development and delivery of our 2010 Business Readiness Strategy and the Whistler Service Strategy.
In respect of our Core operations, the WCC planned for an operating deficit in the year ending December 31, 2011. It was a strategy that was carefully considered by our Board of Directors before it was approved as a necessary investment, to be funded from our reserves, to progress some key initiatives. Because the WCC is not immune to the challenging economic environment, it has incurred a deficit greater than planned due to non-renewed office and boardroom rental contracts, less than anticipated sponsorship funding and participation in training programs and a first-year investment in the Outlook Economic Symposium. The WCC is actively managing the impact of the deficit through its 2012 operational budget, which will creatively and resourcefully generate the net income needed to begin to recoup the deficit and rebuild our reserves effective immediately.