VOTE GORD

I have followed the local political scene for years however until now I have never considered a seat at the council table. My views on some of the current issues we face are outlined below. These issues are important and solutions are complex however they should not be pursued at the expense of the fundamental requirement of Mayor and Council – to get things done, operate efficiently and effectively and respect the taxpayers who pay the bills.

PLATFORM

I have followed the local political scene for years however until now I have never considered a seat at the council table. My views on some of the current issues we face are outlined in my platform outlined below. These issues are important and solutions are complex however they should not be pursued at the expense of the fundamental requirement of Mayor and Council – to get things done, operate efficiently and effectively and respect the taxpayers who pay the bills.

Our issues are not unique to Whistler. They are common to many communities in British Columbia and throughout Canada. The incoming council will be faced with tough decisions and not everyone will be happy with the solutions however it is time to formulate a plan, take action and provide the taxpayer with a clear direction on how to move forward in an efficient and timely manner. While it is critical for the mayor and council to move forward on these initiatives, it is also fundamental to involve the community in the most important decisions.

Housing – Rental & Affordable Single Family 

  • Priority one should be to restructure the Whistler Development Company (WDC). The resignation of the entire WDC board resulted in the loss of a brain trust that had been the driving force behind Cheakamus Crossing and their expertise had been provided over many years at no charge to the community. Currently no clear plan exists on how their expertise will be replaced and more importantly at what cost.
  • Formulate a short term plan (the next 10 years) and a longer term plan (20 years) on how to best move forward on both housing components – rental and affordable single family market housing.
  • Cheakamus Crossing – Continue with the next phase and complete plans, zoning and approvals for the build out of Cheakamus Crossing including single family market price housing.
  • Private development of rental housing should be pursued however not at the expense of negatively impacting existing neighbourhoods. One of the original rezoning application’s had asked for over a 3000% increase in bed units on a currently zoned single family lot. If this application (currently under review) had been approved it would have had a significant negative impact to the entire neighbourhood.
  • Discuss with Vail Resorts / Whistler Blackcomb the plans they have with regard to providing additional staff housing and work with them to fast track any such plans.
  • Business owners who wish to build rental housing to help resolve the rental crisis for their employee’s should be encouraged and fast tracked through the system.
  • To a degree we are the victim of our own success. This success sends a considerable amount of money (1.5 million) each day down the road to senior levels of government. The capital cost of delivering housing is significant and an essential component to our ongoing success. Do the Feds and /or the Province have a program in place that would help with the capital costs? If no program is available is it worthy of discussion and formulating a plan for presentation?

The complexities surrounding rental and affordable single family housing are significant however if solutions are not found and implemented we will continue to lose community members, have difficulty attracting young families and economic development will be stymied.   

The one quick fix available is for the Bylaw Department to continue and if possible accelerate the enforcement of  “non zoned illegal”  nightly rentals such as Airbnb.

Defend the Environment 

Environment – habitat – territory – domain – surroundings – conditions.
These synonyms are all worthy of a concentrated effort to defend and protect

  • Community Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) – Deliver on this plan.
  • Wildfire Mitigation – We are all aware of the damage caused throughout the Province and the west coast of the United States by wildfires. The cost is only overshadowed by the personal loss that many families and communities have suffered. Whistler is at high risk of wildfire and the next council should review the Wildfire Protection Strategy and be in a position to apply for the additional money that the Province has indicated would be available. The FireSmart Program is a good one and can be done by residents, second home owners and strata managers at little if any cost. Our strata began a program of fuel reduction (thinning trees, removing tree debris, brush, etc.) 3 years ago and the cost to date is zero. Invest in an accelerated and aggressive Wildfire Awareness Program.
  • Continue to support alternate forms of transportation bike, walk and transit.
  • Look at ways of providing the additional infrastructure required to support electric cars.

Historically Whistler by its very nature has been tied to the environment. I think by using the programs that are currently in place and building on them we can improve and advance our environmental performance going forward. All it takes is commitment!

Preserve & Build Quality of Life

Endless amounts of money have been successfully spent to attract tourists. We need to spend time and money to support us – the tax payer. Some initiatives I think the next council should aggressively pursue are:

  • Support Our Non-profits: Whistler has a number of non-profits largely operated by volunteers who have both a passion for the community and the organization that they have committed to.  I have been part of this community and have seen first hand the value they bring to the table. It is imperative that they get the support and the resources that they need.
  • New Museum: Our history is currently housed in a trailer. The stories told define our history and should be showcased. Consider incorporating additional community needs into a new museum. Possibly – meeting rooms for non-profits (desperately needed), working studios for artist’s, etc, There is a solution, it simply takes a desire and some innovative thinking to make it happen and both of these are available.
  • Stay invested and reinvest in community assets such as parks, trail system and recreation assets. Expand the Whistler Racquet Club to include all racquet sports and provide a multi functional facility for family recreation and leisure.
  • Daycare: Finding daycare for young families continues to be challenging. Although daycare is a Provincial responsibility I am convinced that by working collaboratively with all potential stake holders within our community that a packaged proposal could be prepared to begin to lobby the Province for funding. Where is the WDC when you need them.
  • Seniors: The community is aging rapidly and in addition our senior lifestyle is attracting more retirees. It is imperative that we continue and expand on all aspects associated with allowing seniors to age in place. This initiative has similar issues to those that the daycare facility faces. Difficult, no doubt however solutions are out there and we need to stay committed to finding them.

To summarise we have many challenges but they are challenges faced by a very successful resort community. At times we all feel perhaps a little “over-loved”. But these are also issues that can and need to be addressed. We live in a community with finite capacities in our parks and recreational pursuits, understanding what those capacities are and how better to manage them are critical to the quality of life for our residents. 

I look forward to receiving your feedback on any of these issues.

Just one more thing:

I need your vote in order to carry out not only the thoughts above, 

but also the ideas and input from your perspective.

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VOTE ON OCTOBER 20, 2018

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