Looking ahead to 2018

Local officials weigh in on the year to come

The Christmas decorations have been put away, the New Year has been rung in and now the Sea to Sky corridor can look ahead to 2018.

With a fresh year underway, The Question asked some local officials about how they’ll remember 2017, what they anticipate for 2018 and, in the spirit of optimism, what they’re most looking forward to.

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Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Mayor of Whistler

What defined 2017 locally?

It might sound mundane, but I think it was the weather. We had a very snowy, very long winter. Great skiing, but it did seem to go on a bit too long and people became cranky. The summer was also long, hot and dry. We had lots of guests with that great weather, which emphasized the unintended consequences of economic success — staffing, housing and transportation issues.
The other very important ramification from 2017 being defined by weather was recognizing wildfire — it’s a very real threat to our town and what we have to do to prevent it.
What defined 2017 globally was the election of Donald Trump and the continuing very negative fall out from that.

What is your biggest hope for 2018?

That the RMOW carries on with the implementation of the recommendations of TAG (transportation advisory group) and the Mayor’s Taskforce on Housing and we see some relief from the issues mentioned above.

What are you most looking forward to this year?
That it’s an election year.

Cheryl Skribe, executive director of Whistler Community Services Society 

What defined 2017 locally?

The housing crisis. The lack of affordable housing — owned and rental — defined last year and will continue to influence for the next several years through decreased labour supply, deteriorating resort guest experience and increased challenges around employee mental health.

What is your biggest hope for 2018?

My greatest hope is the belief in the amazing spirit that exists in this town to bring the focus back on community and take steps to preserve and protect our unique and important mountain culture.
What are you most looking forward to this year?

As an organization, definitely our move to the new building, located at Nesters, scheduled for spring 2018. As an individual, more pow days with friends!

Graham Turner, president of the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce

What defined 2017 locally?

A surge of visible economic activity and growth in our communities, including affordable housing, new businesses, local First Nations driving economic development in their communities.

What is your biggest hope for 2018?

Improved public transportation and quality high speed Internet to meet the needs of our communities in the region. As well, the Economic Task Force becoming a cohesive working group.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Shredding the mountain with my family this winter!

Lisa McCullough, superintendent of the Sea to Sky School District

What defined 2017 locally?

From an educational point of view, something that has defined 2017 would be the whole community’s commitment and the Board of Education’s support for Truth and Reconciliation. Our local aboriginal students are graduating at a significantly higher rate than aboriginal students in other areas, and are at an all-time high in our School District hitting over 86 per cent graduating in June 2017.
This is one indicator that highlights our students’ commitment to their role and the strengthening of the local aboriginal communities, and the support to learning and reconciliation from the community at large.

What is your biggest hope for 2018?

With our resident student grad rate exceeding 96 per cent and our aboriginal students over 86 per cent, I would like to see those results continue on this improvement trajectory. Our teachers have a significant focus on community service through their classroom planning and our students have a commitment to this local work. I really look forward to hearing about the incredible learning and service work of our students and staff over the next year. As our students and teachers look for new real-world projects to take on, I look forward to enhancing and increasing our community partnerships across our corridor.

Anne Crowley, acting president of the Pemberton Arts Council

What defined 2017 locally?

What defined 2017 for the Pemberton Arts Council was the completion of governance documents so that the council could focus on creating and delivering successful arts events. From Art in the Garden to Art on the Farm to local workshops to Mountains of Art — it was a busy year.

What is your biggest hope for 2018?

Our biggest hope for 2018 is to grow our membership and bring more art into the lives of Pembertonians in new exciting directions. Stay tuned!

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Personally, I am looking for the emergence of integrity in our world. People are speaking out and wanting truth. Artists have always been important spokespeople for the world.

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