At first, the rezoning of the aptly named ‘garage-mahal’ B.C. Transit facility seemed like a no brainer.
Like most things that seem that way, a closer look shows another side of the story and one that somebody doesn’t want us to know.
Rezoning was sold to council as a revenue-generating endeavour with absolutely nothing required of council or the municipality other than passing a few bylaws and amending the community plan.
Buried in the report was a reference to the B.C. Transit Commercial Services Business Case that sets out revenues of $17,000 in the first year and a possible $200,000 in the future.
Interestingly enough, that business case document was not included in the staff report. It should also be noted that, as a result, it was also not provided to council as part of the rezoning application.
It was provided to the Transit Management Advisory Committee. The Question was informed that to receive a copy we would have to contact B.C. Transit. They, however, said it is not a public document and declined sending it along. A freedom of information request, typically, is still being processed by the Crown corporation.
TMAC member Bill Murray, on the other hand, has seen it and expressed his doubts as to its contents to council at the public hearing.
A good indication that a report is has questionable is when public officials refuse to give it to you. Murray, who is also the president of a transportation company, only backed up this logic with his thoughts. He said the person who prepared the report for B.C. Transit “doesn’t really understand the nature of the market.”
Mayor and council cannot comment on the issue now that it has been to public hearing but we hope they take a step back and demand B.C. Transit make the business case public so everybody has a full understanding of the real revenue-generating potential of private commercial uses at that site.
EPI committee significance not to be missed
In case you missed the significance of The Question’s front page story last week, we thought we would give it a mention here.
The formation of a new committee, out of the mandate of an old committee, can seem like dry toast, but Whistler residents and businesses should take note.
The newly-named Economic Partnership Initiative is made up of Whistler Blackcomb, the RMOW, the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Whistler and member of the Hotel Association.
Along with other duties like planning and analysis, it will be responsible for deciding how to spend the resort’s RMI funding, totalling $6.35 million this year.
Translation: the most powerful people in Whistler now have a little bit more power.
Their first meeting is on Monday (Sept. 17) and we would like to humbly suggest they get to work on the issue of this year’s funding for the Whistler Film Festival.
The festival has money approved by council to upgrade Rainbow Theatre this fall, i.e. before the big event. The review of RMI funds, now the mandate of the EPI committee, has held up that funding being released.
To see needed upgrades, partly paid for by the festival, held up by bureaucratic processes would seem to go against the EPI’s own mandate. This is an opportunity to support an event that has a economic impact of $2.8 million for the resort.
Sounds like an economic partnership if we ever heard one.