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: Talk of allowing gambling in Whistler was not new in the 1980s, but an economic downturn made the idea of casinos more attractive to some residents, who argued it would bring more revenue and stable year-round employment. In 1982, a group called the Concerned Citizens for Whistler was formed in support of bringing gambling to Whistler. However, their views were not shared by all Whistler residents and, at a meeting held in August 1982, it was decided that community members did not have enough information and that a study should be done on the subject. Some concerns discussed at the meeting included the social impact of gambling, the possible altered character of Whistler, and a loss of autonomy as the industry would be strictly controlled by the province.
Question: Did the meeting tonight change your mind about legalizing gambling at Whistler?
Editor’s Note: The following three people were interviewed immediately following the August 1st meeting conducted by Concerned Citizens For Whistler on legalized gambling.
Dave Kirk – Alta Vista
This is a sit-on-the-fence answer, but what did the meeting accomplish? It really didn’t give us any facts on which to base a decision.
But the fact that there was a meeting indicates there is definitely an interest shown – especially for more information.
Jenny Busdon – Housewife – Whistler Cay
I came to the meeting not knowing if I was for or against it. There’s lots of pros and cons – I still don’t have an opinion.
I think our first priority is establishing Whistler as a first-class destination resort and putting our energies into promoting what we presently have here.
When this is done, maybe a concept of this kind would be more viable a few years down the road.
Larry Gunn – Whistler Courier – Alpine Meadows
It didn’t really change my opinion, which is that I think there needs to be more research done before the matter is put before the community and Council to make a decision.
Personally, I’m in favour of legalized gambling, but with qualifications. I’m not in favour of it just anywhere, though.
I’d like to see it kept in a very small segment before it spreads and gets out of hand.
Editor’s Note: These three individuals responded to the question “Do you think gambling should be legalized in Whistler?” in the Nov. 26, 1981 issue of the Whistler Question. It is interesting to note that the responses at that time were much more direct. All six people answered with a definite “yes” or “no” – with four in favour and two against the idea.
Ralph Kowin – Emerald Estates
Yes. Every week thousands of people in BC head for Nevada to gamble, and the money they spend would be better kept in BC. It would create more jobs for Whistler on a year-round basis and help stabilize the highs and lows in the economy. The larger tax base from hotels and casinos would help relieve the burden from property owners.
Wayne Weis – Alpine Meadows
Personally, I have nothing against gambling, but I don’t think they should legalize it here. I don’t think the community as a whole would accept it and I don’t think we have the facilities here to warrant something like gambling.
Don Beverley – Alpine Meadows
Yes, it’s a good idea. Whistler’s trying to become a world-class destination resort and in order to compete with other resorts we have to have the facilities to attract the sophisti-world traveller. Besides skiing in the winter, and windsurfing in the summer, we need something that happens continuously all year round that will attract people.