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 1983. 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: The Alta Lake Sports Club (ALSC) began building cross-country ski trails in the Whistler valley, specifically around Lost Lake, in the 1970s. The ALSC groomed the trails and, for the first years, they were available for free to anyone with skis. In the early 1980s, when the municipality held a referendum on the development of parks and trails in the valley, it was widely understood that the maintenance would be paid for through taxes. The municipality proposed charging cross-country skiers to access the trails at Lost Lake Park in 1983, causing controversy within Whistler as some residents felt it was one of the only free activities available in the winter, the facilities at Lost Lake Park didn’t warrant a $2 fee, and the ALSC had previously been able to afford to provide the maintenance for free.
Question: Is Council justified in charging cross-country skiers to use Lost Lake Park?
Les Doyle – Unemployed – Brio
I think it’s ridiculous. The trails should be a service to the community. I know a few people who come just to cross-country ski and it’ll turn them off. If it’s a public park you can’t really charge to get in.
Cathy Greenwood – Hotel Office Manager – Whistler Cay
Yes. It’s costing us taxpayers money, not the government. I don’t think people will object to it. Back east they have to pay for cross-country. It’s not like they’re charging $10.
Samuel P. Umpkin – Sci-fi Novelist – Tapley’s Farm
I think it’s a seedy thing to do. I haven’t skied myself since my accident, but I can see that concerns will be voiced that a public park should be a free public park. They may as well charge for… pumpkins, for example.