Loving Whistler — flaws and all

The Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW) released its second annual Vital Signs report on Tuesday (Oct. 3).

The initiative pulls information and feedback from all corners of the community with the goal of presenting a snapshot of what life in Whistler is currently like — warts and all. This year’s version is smaller and more condensed than its inaugural report, but it’s jam-packed with bits of info that paint a picture of daily life.

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None of the information it contains is too surprising. It tells us housing is a problem, it’s a struggle to make ends meet and growth and busyness in the resort seems to have no end in sight.

But what did catch the CFOW off guard was the fact that the people who participated in their “Vital Dialogue” sessions that informed much of the report voiced concerns, but in the end most drew the same conclusion — they don’t want to live anywhere else.

In a way, that’s what we’re all saying every day that we choose to stay. This is a hard place to live, but at the end of the day it’s worth the struggle.

The report also contains bits of information that seem to indicate that the community is moving in the right direction — depending on how you choose to look at it. For example, it relays that the RMOW’s bylaw services have received a 233 per cent increase in the number of calls it receives related to garbage.

Perhaps more people are littering in Whistler or, as the report points out, it could be that more people are sensitive to the problems garbage causes for wildlife and they’re calling in the mess before it escalates.

It also tackles the topic of growth, change and belonging. In that section, a small box is dedicated to showing the range of situations in which Whistlerites felt as though they belonged in the community. They include getting married at Whistler’s Skiers Chapel, participating in Remembrance Day, getting a spot in daycare, the birth of a child or — a common occurrence — running into friends in the Village.

The report also raises serious problems that officials in our community are working to deal with. The value of the report is to show them all succinctly in one place — and demonstrate that there are people who care raising these issues, discussing ways to help solve them and, most importantly, sticking around to love this place — despite all of its flaws.

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