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/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%. While some buildings in the Whistler Village were completed, much of the first phase was still under construction. Construction of the Resort Centre (known today as the Conference Centre) began in March 1980 and was still ongoing in 1982. The original plans included an Olympic-sized ice rink, swimming pool, whirlpool, saunas, racquetball courts, squash court, restaurant and more. The proposed budget (not including operating costs) was in the $5.5 to 5.8 million range. In January 1983 the provincial government formed Whistler Land Co. Developments, a Crown corporation chaired by Chester Johnson to take over the liabilities and assets of the Whistler Village Land Company. Under Johnson the Resort Centre was reconstructed as a conference centre without the extra recreational facilities and construction was completed by 1986. You can find more information about the Resort Centre here.
Question: Would you be adverse to having any portion of your property taxes go towards finishing the Resort Centre?
Jim Crichton – Carpenter – Alpine Meadows
Yes. The original plan for the convention centre stipulated that the taxpayer was not to pay for it. Think it will be years before that thing is finished and I don’t want to be subsidizing it.
They should get a private developer to take it over and run it.
Barry Johnston – Social Psychologist – Alpine Meadows
I think everyone would say it depends on how much extra we have to pay in taxes.
If they did use our tax money, the Land Company would have to make a much closer accounting to property owners on how the money was spent.
David Kirk – Whistler Village Sports/Whistler Creek Ski Shop – Alta Vista
I would like to see a referendum held in order that some direction – whether it be positive or negative – be given the Land Company and municipality on this issue.
Charlie Doyle – Commercial Artist – MDC
I would be against having any portion of my property taxes going for that purpose.
It was a mistake on the part of the Land Company in estimating costs. Why should we bail them out? They certainly don’t bail out my mistakes.
The centre means something to them only as developers. If they were really interested in the community, they wouldn’t have made it such an epic of a building.
If we were given some benefit, maybe we should consider it. But we’ll end up paying both as taxpayers and as customers once the centre’s finished.
Mark Sadler – Contractor/Developer – Multiple commercial & residential property owner
That’s a difficult question to answer. My basic answer is yes, I would be against having any portion of my residential taxes used to finance the sports centre.
I would like to see the major users – namely commercial establishments which benefit the most – pay towards the completion of it, and that statement comes from me as a property owner in the Town Centre.
Why should we taxpayers be responsible for problems incurred by poor management, inflation and other factors?
Drew Meredith – Real Estate Agent – Alta Vista
No, not at all. I’ve been waiting a long time to see that building finished and I’d be willing to put out out of my own pocket for it.
The addition of a full ice area and squash and racquet-ball courts will be a definite asset to the community. It’s not going to be any cheaper in the future.
I wouldn’t be against having my taxes go towards it, providing the Land Company repays the municipality in the future when the real estate market perks up again.