Tag Archives: Town Centre

Photographs and the WCA

Throughout 2018, the Whistler Museum’s blog, Whistorical, published a weekly feature called “This Week in Photos” (find all the posts here).  We had recently finished scanning the Whistler Question collection of photos from 1978 to 1985 and used the photos (which were helpfully arranged by their week of publication) to illustrate what was happening in Whistler in a particular week for each year the collection covered.  Most photos that had been published in the paper were catalogued with captions that helped provide context but for some photos you need to go to copies of the Question to understand what’s pictured.  One such photo can be seen here:

Crowds begin to mass for the Town Centre rally organized by the Whistler Contractors Association. Over 300 people took part in the rally and march through Town Centre.  Whistler Question Collection, 1980.

The image of a protest in front of a partially constructed Town Centre was published in the week of September 11, 1980 but the story behind it can be found in the Question throughout that year.  The first report of tensions around Town Centre construction projects in found in an editorial from June 5, 1980.  The dispute was mainly over whether the Town Centre was considered an integrated site, allowing both union and non-union workers to work on the different parcels, or a common site, allowing the Town Centre developers to employ only union workers.  There were four parcels being built by non-union contractors at the time.

The Labour Relations Board (LRB) had been asked to make a decision on the matter.  On June 11, the Whistler Contractors Association (WCA), headed by Doug O’Mara, attended the talks with a letter from Mayor Pat Carleton and the rest of Council expressing a desire to keep the Town Centre as an integrated site, allowing the independent contractors of the WCA to continue working there.

This seemed to be the main question in Whistler that summer. Whistler Question Collection, 1980.

The LRB chose not to make a ruling at that time and construction of the Town Centre by both union and non-union workers continued over the summer, though there was still tension.

Over the August long weekend the unions did stop work for a day, leading to what the Question described as “an extra long weekend.”  However, the Question editorial staff were confident enough that the construction season would end without a major disruption that they published an editorial on August 21 thanking those who had kept the Town Centre moving and claiming “we’re fairly confident that the relative harmony that has existed over the area for the summer will extend into the fall.”  One week later, on August 28, approximately 200 union workers walked off the Town Centre site.  This action began another hearing of the LRB beginning September 3.

The rally pictured was quickly organized by the WCA and took place on September 4.  Over 300 people turned out to support the WCA and signed a petition to be taken to the LRB.  The rally also attracted media attention and interviews with O’Mara, Nancy Greene, and other contractors were aired on CBC and CKVU and featured on the front page of the Province.

The WCA led media and supporters on a walk through the Town Centre showing just how much work was still to be completed. Whistler Question Collection, 1980.

The talks with the LRB continued for almost two weeks while the remaining construction season got shorter.  On September 15, the LRB announced that they needed to investigate the issue further and would send two officials to Whistler.  In the meantime, the Town Centre was to be treated as an integrated site.

Work resumed on the Town Centre over the next week, just in time for the Premier and Cabinet to visit, but the dispute did not end there.  The LRB announced on December 2 that, effective January 1, 1981, the Town Centre would be considered a common site, excluding the Whistler Golf Course and work on Blackcomb Mountain, which opened just two days later.  The WCA stated that they would appeal the decision, but Mayor Carleton was not hopeful the decision would be reversed.

Though looking through the Question doesn’t always provide the whole story behind a photograph, it often helps provide some context.

This Week In Photos: September 13

A lot has happened this week in Whistler’s history – this week in 1982 has almost 400 photographs.  If you’re interested in seeing more the Fall Festival and other events from that year, check out the whole album here.

1979

Potholes galore! The entrance to Alpine Meadows as it appeared last Sunday.

Typical Town Centre scene last week – the rain keeps coming and the mud gets deeper!

Swinging in the rain! A foursome tees off at the first hole in the Bob Parsons Memorial Golf Tournament.

The bottom terminal of Blackcomb lift #2 takes shape.

The front entrance of the new Fortress Mountain Blackcomb base facility.

1980

Crowds begin to mass for the Town Centre rally organized by the Whistler Contractors Association. Over 300 people took part in the rally and march through Town Centre.

Crowd marches past the still uncompleted Resort Centre.

Not a skateboard ramp but the Olive Chair’s newly-paved loading and discharge platform at the Gondola Station.

NO PARKING! Itinerant pickup decides to use the new Olive Chair ramp as a parking spot.

Bob Wick points out golf course features to a group of appreciative horticulture students from Langley.

Recently created public access to Alta Lake in the Alta Vista subdivision. This area is unknown to many Whistler visitors and residents.

1982

Whistler Mayor Pat Carleton and Howe Sound MLA Allan Williams take in some of the scenery in Lost Lake Park. They were en route to the September 11th official opening of the 500-acre recreational site.

Myrtle Philip cuts the opening ribbon held by Health Care Society Chairman Rollie Horsey, September 12.

One of the vehicles which helped wipe out both signals at the Green River railway crossing – a 1979 Ferrari which was driven by Brent Freitag of Vancouver.

Two waiters roll through the Waiter/Waitress Race during Fall Festival fun.

Shasta Trampoline Club members soared as part of a festival demonstration.

Edelweiss Dance Group from Victoria chopped. It was all going on at Whistler’s second Fall Festival.

They also danced in Village Square.

Kids anticipated winter in the snowflake drawing contest.

Fun was also had in the bouncy castle.

Delta Duck and Willie Whistler tee up.

A fitness class gets everyone moving in Mountain Square.

Gumboot Lollipop gets a helping hand from a couple of “volunteers”.

Terry Boston lauded the lowly duck.

Tapley’s A’s player streaks over home plate as a Pemberton Zipperhead fumbles the ball. Tapley’s went on to win the game but came in fourth in the tournament.

1983

The Rangerettes Baton Corps of North Vancouver goes through its clown routine at Sunday’s Fall Festival. Other entertainers at the weekend event included folk and can-can dancers and live music in Village Square. Despite the wet conditions about 1,500 people were attracted to the end-of-summer extravaganza.

Whistler’s new Arabesque tent protects dancers and drinkers from the rain.

Kids had their bit of fun riding the giant merry-go-round set up in the VIP parking lot.

And at the bouncy dome outside the service building.

Tim Cleave from the New Westminster-based Shasta Trampoline levitates over Whistler Mountain.

Workmen from B & O Blacktop put the finishing touches on the Valley Drive bridge that was washed out in 1981.

Ross Smith, manager of Stoney’s Restaurant, does his Hamlet imitation while teaching would-be bartenders the finer points of slinging gin. The three-week course takes place in Mountain House Cabaret.

Instant curbs ooze out of Alpine Paving’s machine along Mountain Lane by Delta Mountain Inn. Paving is expected to be finished next week.

Parks employee Ted Pryce-Jones completes the new suspension bridge on Callaghan River near the Cheakamus River junction. Parks Planner Tom Barratt says the $12,000 bridge should be ready to cross this week.

Alpha Lake Park officially opened to the public.

1984

The summer students hired by Whistler Resort Association said goodbye last week following a season-long series of performances in Whistler Village. (L to R) Rob McQuaid, Mike McQuaid, Karen Overgaard and Rick Johnson were four of the university and community college students who helped create a festive atmosphere in the village this summer. WRA summer students who were absent include Kimberley Paulley, David Lyford, Paul Ciechanowski, Kristine Keiland and Susan Mathew.

Peter Oblander, winner of the Rotary Club of Whistler lottery for a lifetime dual mountain pass, was presented his prize Friday by Lorne Borgal, president of Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation, and Hugh Smythe, president of Blackcomb Skiiing Enterprises. Oberlander, a University of British Columbia professor and director of human settlement for the United Nations, spoke to Rotarians at their weekly luncheon, on his own experiences in this area since he first visited Diamond Head at Easter, 1950. Oberlander recalled the trip by water to Britannia Beach from Horseshoe Bay, and from Britannia to Squamish by jeep. In the 1960s, Oberlander assisted Keg owner George Tidal in laying out his restaurant on Alta Lake. Later, Oberlander helped plan what was to be the Olympic townsite, and has since then been a frequent and enthusiastic weekender here. Winning the lifetime pass, he said, is “in many ways a crowning achievement” to his three decade-long familiarity with the area.

Tony Brummet, Land, Parks and Housing Minister, officially opened the Black Tusk Village subdivision Saturday. The 94 strata-lot subdivision was built to provide a new home for former residents of Garibaldi, which in 1981 was declared hazardous because of the Barrier, a rock face nearby.

Whistler residents Lee MacLaurin and Ian Mounsey were wed Saturday in a ceremony at Tyrol Lodge. Lee is the daughter of Isobel and Don MacLaurin of Whistler, and Ian is the son of Ken and Sylvia Mounsey of Galiano Island. Best man at the wedding was Jim Lang, while Lee’s sisters Sue and Jill were bridesmaids. Marriage Commissioner Joan Hinds of Squamish performed the ceremony and guests at the Tyrol Lodge reception were treated to a topographic wedding cake sculpted in the form of Whistler Mountain and decorated with a pair of “ski-niks” and candy trees. Lee started a family tradition by wearing they same dress mother Isobel wore at her wedding 26 years ago.