MY PRIORITIES ARE CLEAR:
Affordability and prosperity for Whistler residents
Protecting WHISTLER'S natural assets
ENSURE COUNCIL IS Respectful, inclusive and representative to the community
My first priority is to provide the basics for Whistler families, like yours, and for future generations. My husband and I chose to commit to this community and raise our family here. To do that, we needed a safe and secure place to call home. We rented more than 9 places over the past 16 years, and after 7 years on the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) waitlist, we are most grateful to own our home. We are very thankful for the vision of the WHA, but we know there are opportunities for improvement, based on the feedback and overwhelming need.
We are also very grateful for the clean water, safe roads, clean air, recreation facilities, sustainable food sources, and medical services provided to us in Whistler — living conditions that no other community in BC with a similar population enjoys. We must continue to ensure these assets are well-maintained and prosperous, through mindful leadership at the Council table.
Whistler is a peaceful, diverse and inclusive community. The Whistler Public Library, for example, is our centre for civic engagement, education and the meeting place of many. It’s not just books, but a place of inclusion and opportunity. Regardless of how long someone has been in town, they will be welcome, with excellent service and ample working space to meet their needs. As a member of Council, I strive to remove the barriers to accessing services and information, kneading together our community where all walks of life are welcomed and embraced. Collaborative discussions, mindful feedback and equal representation are key to an inclusive, respectful and representative Council.
Tourism is the product. The desire to be a part of it is the reason visitors come, and there is a lot of that to go around. We invited the world to have a taste of what we do, and why we do it. We wanted to fill empty beds so that small businesses could sustain themselves.
Now, the pendulum has swung too far and we are experiencing symptoms of over-tourism. Never-ending rows of traffic coming in and out town. Lines to get into restaurants. Limited service hours, with a lack of staffing, threatens the experience that our worldly guests are seeking.
This is a crisis of housing, resulting from a crisis of community foundation. Whistler experienced a 21% growth in permanent residents in the census of 2016, which is one of the largest growth rates in Canada for a municipality of this size. Too many original A-frames and heritage cabins that housed local workers have been torn down, only to be replaced with trophy weekend homes.
Off-shore and non-resident buyers who are not interested in renting their homes have displaced our work force and the snowball effect of resulting problems continues to grow. A strong voice is needed to address the problems where Whistler cannot physically build enough housing with limited remaining land. A strong voice is needed to assert that residents do not want to open up the bed cap to satisfy the unending appetite of investment buyers.
There needs to be realistic, researched and readily available solutions provided to our residents by looking to other international tourism communities to see their successes and failures in order to address the global housing and resultant labour shortages at home.
CommuniTy Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP)
Under the leadership of council, we made commitments to lower our community energy consumption, lower our greenhouse gas emissions, and to increase our efforts to mitigate our impact on climate change.
Yes, we are a small community of 12,000 residents, which probably won’t reverse the enormous damage already done... But, if we don’t, who should? We host more than two million visitors each year. Could we make an impression on them?
We have borrowed the earth from our children. Whistler’s economy depends on our natural assets — the forests, the lakes and the mountains. The clean air, and that moment of clarity, standing at the top of Seventh Heaven, is something every future generation should experience.
I have voted to keep our natural assets… natural. I have opposed furthering our use of single-use plastics. I have opposed further dependence on fossil fuels. I will continue to oppose harmful and wasteful practices and commit to have Whistler lead by example for the other resort communities in Whistler. If anyone can do it, it’s Whistler.
Short term, seasonal and transient staff should not be required to endure the additional expense of vehicle ownership. We have seen great success in offering free transit on weekends in the summer, but that is just the beginning.
If we can provide frequent, affordable and convenient transit, we can relieve congestion on the roads and in the parking lots. If we can work with regional partners and make mass transit from the city/YVR a reality, we can start to make a dent in our GHG production that, unfortunately, has not kept up with our previous commitments. Furthermore, if we have the ability to plan for phased development around frequent and reliable transit options, then we must.