The board of the Whistler Chamber voted to oppose the Norther Gateway pipeline project at is first meeting of 2013. Responding specifically to a statement of support for the project issued by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce in 2012, the Whistler board stated that "...while it supports business investment to drive economic growth and healthy economies, it is opposed to the project."
In aligning itself with a position taken by Whistler council in April 2012, the Whistler Chamber acknowledged in a press release that "...Whistler is a community dependent on tourism, its reputation as a tourist destination is dependent on British Columbia's pristine environment, that there is significant threat from the building and operation of the Northern Gateway pipeline and the resultant tanker traffic on our B.C. Coast and that the approval of this project will put Whistler's tourism industry at significant risk."
Chamber President Fiona Famulak stated: "Our board understand that the position taken on the project by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce is consistent with its broad mandate to support economic development across the province and across the country. However, the mandate of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce is to support the Whistler business community. Our resort community is one that is dependent on tourism, a key economic driver that generates approximately $12 billion per annum to provincial revenues. We believe it is imperative that the importance of tourism to the province is acknowledged to ensure that the sector's concerns are represented as part of the final decision of the Joint Review Panel."
The recommendations of the Joint Review Panel are expected later this year.
Meanwhile, the new chair of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce board is Sue Adams, managing partner of the Whistler Grocery Store. The new vice-chair is Dave Williamson, principal with Cascade Environmental Resource Group. The treasurer/secretary is Theresa Walterhouse, a partner with BDO Dunwoody.
Kendra Mazzei, director of Burnt Stew Computer Solutions, continues as past chair.
Adams, a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, brings many years of business, board and committee experience to the role of chamber chair.
"We made some progressive changes to our governance model last year," Adams said in a release. "We have a great board and an excellent president and staff team. I'm therefore confident we will continue to fulfill our mandate to serve our membership and be a valued and respected partner both inside and outside of the resort."