Whistler’s Answers: July 15, 1982

In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer).  Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1982.  Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.

Some context for this week’s question: Whistler was just beginning to market itself as a summer destination in the early 1980s. The Whistler Village was still under construction and only a small number of businesses were fully operating.

Question: What were the things that impressed you the most, and the least, during your visit to Whistler?

Ash Dhanani – Sales Rep – Burnaby

The architecture here – the way the whole thing has been done is really very nice. I’ve been coming up for 10 years and it’s one of the nicest places around.

But you need more activities here. You can’t sit in a restaurant all day. Maybe there’s a communication problem in telling visitors what’s available.

My friends in Vancouver say it’s really nice here, but needs some rounding out.

Jean Doench – Teacher – Toronto

I think the camaraderie and friendliness is very apparent. The town has a laid-back atmosphere, but it’s still productive. Architecturally, it’s like a jewel in the mountains.

The one basic weakness I’ve found is that the involved personnel tend to talk about economic failure. There is a worry about what’s happening here, and I think it’s unwarranted, it just doesn’t fit.

One thing that is terrible is the hum of fans in the square.

Ellen Hodge – Federal Government Employee – Port Coquitlam

I think the nicest thing is the appearance of the buildings, plus the beautiful scenery. I especially liked the Village Square which has a feeling much like the little towns in the Laurentians.

But I thought there would be more – more shops, more streets, more of a village. I guess it’s because it’s so new here. I imagine there will be more, it will just take a couple of years.

Building Meadow Park

In 1980, while Blackcomb Mountain was preparing to open and the Town Centre was still in early stages of construction, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) was putting together a plan to build parks throughout Whistler. The Outdoor Recreation Plan they proposed suggested plans for lakeside parks, such as today’s Lost Lake Park, Wayside Park, and Alpha Lake Park, as well as calling for smaller parks within subdivisions. In Alpine Meadows, the plan proposed a park with a playground, softball field, open play area, nature area, bikeway terminus, and parking with highway access. Over the 1980s, this suggestion of a park would become Meadow Park.

Municipal trail crews cut through the brush to make the final connection between the Alpine Meadows trail and Meadow Park trail (under construction). Paving to complete the trail system will begin at the end of July. Whistler Question Collection, June 1983.

Work on Meadow Park began in the early 1980s with the building up of 11 acres of marsh. By September 1983, though still a work-in-progress, Meadow Park was connected to the Whistler Village by an early section of the Valley Trail and tennis courts had been installed. Despite this progress, the park was still a long way from finished. In May 1984, a feature article in the Whistler Question described the area as “a sorry sight,” with skunk cabbage where other parks boasted daffodils and a brown patch in place of a playing field. By the River of Golden Dreams, however, a grassy picnic site featured panoramic views of mountains.

Over the summer of 1984, the brown patch would be seeded and transformed into a field complete with baseball diamond and backstop, the Valley Trail would be paved and extended to the highway, and a playground would be installed near the tennis courts. According to Parks Planner Tom Barratt, the RMOW’s plan with these facilities was “to make the park as much a community park as it is a local, subdivision park.”

Meadow Park mom’s gathered on a Tuesday afternoon. The pre-nap strategy: “Get them out and let them run wild.” Whistler Question Collection, 1993.

The next major addition to Meadow Park was made in 1988 with the installation of the water park. The water park was partially funded by a grant from BC Lotteries and was built by L.A. Systems, who had just finished installing a similar park in Horseshoe Bay. According to municipal parks director Bill Barratt, the water park would offer a safer alternative to lakes for small children during hot weather.

The water park was completed by August 1988, featuring water cannons, sprinklers, geyser, water slide, and “a fish that blows wherever the wind does.” A community event, referred to by some as the “Big Splash,” was put together by the Alta Lake Community Club to celebrate the water park’s opening. Dandelion Daycare sponsored a bicycle-decorating contest, the Rotary Club provided ice cream, the Lions Club brought hot dogs and drinks, and local businesses provided prizes. Children and parents “flocked” to the new facility.

The water park being well used during the summer months. Whistler Question Collection, 1995.

The water park continued to be well used by residents and visitors alike and Meadow Park was soon established as a neighbourhood park. In a 2016 post for the Whistler Insider (the blog hosted by whistler.com) author Feet Banks wrote that, “The water park was an integral part of childhood for Whistler kids who licked in the north end of town. With no public transit, this was the closest cool-down option and we made almost daily pilgrimages to splash down the slide, run the spray tunnel, refresh and play Frisbee on the massive grass fields.”

The Valley Trail system has been extended and public transit introduced making it easier to access other parks and lakes, but Meadow Park continues to be a popular park for those who live in Alpine Meadows and many others. Picnickers can still be found next to the River of Golden Dreams and, especially when the temperatures rise, children and adults alike can be seen splashing in the water park.

Whistler’s Answers: July 8, 1982

In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer).  Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1982.  Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.

Some context for this week’s question: A major recession hit North America in late 1981, with interest rates reaching up to 20%. Due to changes in the way school tax was calculated, increased road maintenance costs, and higher interest rates, property taxes in Whistler jumped 25% in 1982.

Question: How did you feel about paying your property taxes this year?

Bob Ellis – Businessman – Alpine Meadows property

We have a condo. That’s probably why my property taxes weren’t as bad as I expected.

With the homeowner’s grant, the taxes really weren’t too bad.

But I can see why some people who own houses are gasping.

Inge Nielsen – Gift Shop Operator – Commercial and Whistler Cay Heights property

I think it’s outrageous, I really do. What upsets me the most are the school taxes. Why do we have to support the entire school district?

We have one small school, and the facilities there certainly aren’t up to the level of taxes we’re paying.

Ken Hardy – Contractor – Brio property

I paid my taxes reluctantly. I feel the taxes are far too high for the product we’re receiving, particularly school taxes.

One thing that really piqued me was the $89,000 in the budget for golf course maintenance. How can you maintain something which isn’t even built yet?

Jan Simpson – Real Estate Agent – Alta Vista property

I didn’t pay them this year, and I haven’t paid them for two years. I get so many parking tickets and dog fines, I can’t afford to pay taxes.

The real problem is that school taxes, and the level of services we get, are way out of line compared to Vancouver.

Morley Forsyth – Advertising Sales – Gondola Area property

I feel taxes are very expensive for recreational property. I pay less in Vancouver and I get a lot more for my money.

I think the residents here should get together and protest.

Judy Waddingham – Travel Consultant – Whistler Cay property

I didn’t feel anything because I haven’t paid them yet.

Last year’s taxes were shocking – this year’s taxes are devastating.

A Disco Comes to Whistler

For decades, many of Whistler’s businesses, including late-night establishments, have been concentrated within the Village. The first nightclub (or, as it was called at the time, disco) to open in the Village was Club 10 forty years ago.

Club 10 opened beneath Stoney’s on Friday, March 6, 1981 in the space most recently occupied by Maxx Fish. The venture was a new one for the owners, Michel Segur and Jean-Jacques Aaron, both of whom operated restaurants in the Lower Mainland (Segur’s Chez Michel continues to operate in West Vancouver today). Club 10 offered music, dancing, some limited food such as cheese plates and quiches, and drinks in Whistler’s “normal, pricy range,” and, by all accounts, was an almost instant success.

The crowd gets out onto the dance floor at Club 10. Whistler Question Collection, 1981.

As Club 10 was described as Whistler’s first “real disco,” it’s no surprise that the owners invested in their sound equipment and design, though it appears their aim was not to deafen their patrons. Guy O’Hazza, who installed the club’s sound system, said that, “The sound was not made to be loud, it was made to be clean. It’s directed at the dance floor, so you can still sit at a table and talk.” The system was installed with the capacity to use turntables, but at the time of Club 10’s opening the music relied entirely on cassette tapes. The music itself was varied, ranging from New Wave to swing to country and more.

Mayor Pat Carleton (centre) congratulates Michel Segur (left) and Jean-Jacques Aaron on the opening of their new club. Whistler Question Collection, 1981.

The interior of Club 10 was designed by Gilbert Konqui, who had also designed Stoney’s and, later that year, would design the interior of The Longhorn. According to Konqui, the design was “ultra modern mixed with funk,” a combination of “funky, fun and relaxed.” From the ceiling hung a combination of art nouveau lights and disco balls, reflecting red and blue lights throughout the space. Decorations included two plaster angels, an eagle above the bar, a wall of books, and a large image of Humphrey Bogart.

The only part of Club 10’s opening that was not a success was the entrance, which was described by the Whistler Question as “a bit disconcerting” and reminiscent of a “somewhat sterile” entry to a warehouse. This problem was quickly solved by hiring Raymond Clements, and artist from Horseshoe Bay, to paint a mural in the stairwell. After three days, the plan walls were covered by mountains, chairlifts, ferries, and palm trees.

The walls of the entrance to Club 10, decorated by Ray Clements. Whistler Question Collection, 1981.

Through the 1980s, Club 10 hosted themed parties, fashion shows, and more before being sold, rebought, and then sold to Mitch Garfinkel in 1990. Garfinkel, an attorney from Florida, had plans to open similar bars in various ski resorts under the same name, Garfinkel’s Club 10’s space was redone, replacing painted walls with wood panelling, updating the sound system to play compact discs, and adding a large bar with a fish tank in the centre. In June 1990 Garfinkel’s was ready to open to the public, complete with its logo featuring a moose holding a draft beer.

Garfinkel’s operated for nine years before locating to its current location in 1999. Though the business occupying the space may have changed, its purpose has been the same since it first opened as Club 10 four decades ago.