It’s about to get political… “Survival is the New Sustainability”

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“Let’s look at this from the standpoint of status…(pause). What have we got left that works?”  Flight Chief – Houston – Apollo 13

Thinking of changing the name to “Apollo 13”.  Remember the movie?  Tom Hanks, the ‘Footloose’ guy, the other guy from ‘Born on th 4th of July’, or was it ‘Platoon’?  Doesn’t really matter, does it?  He was cut from the crew because he might get measles…never did.  The fourth guy I can barely remember other than his accent, his pregnant wife and his vomit floating in one of the most poignant displays of every day life without gravity.  The then seemingly innocuous mission to land on the moon…again…and all the seemingly seemless planning and preparation that all turned so completely wrong.

“What was that?”  Not the words you want to hear in space.  It’s reminiscent in a sideways way of a scene that repeated itself a year ago now in the wake of the 2010 Olympic games; 2 RMOW ByLaw officers in uniform (you know, the infamous and equally pricy Arc Teryx jackets) with my “OPEN” sign in tow that they removed from the covered ledge out front of my store.  I say, “I know.”, and save us all the municipal sign bylaw and Olympic anti-ambush marketing speech.  In true gender-neutral bylaw officer style, the female officer has the same military haircut as her oversized partner and the 3 or 4 police in igloo tents on every corner and I walk them next door to show them the 8 foot square Euro-brand poster you-know-who has screwed to the outside of the building.  (Sorry WB, it was a nice picture, but if I can’t put up a 24×30 OPEN sign…you can’t hang that picture.

“Houston, it’s the oxygen. ”  The words echo through the empty municipal office where I reach a voicemail box informing me that bylaw office staff have been ‘reassigned’ to VANOC during the crackdown.  I leave a message, and a couple e-mails, and recall one by one the town counsellors announcing their intent and conviction to protect local businesses from temporary permits and VANOC’s request to monopolize F+B and Retail at Olympic venues, etc…at election time…all that is, until they were elected and Uncle Jon Furlong rolled into a closed-door meeting one day (where we all assumed they passed around some Olympic cool-aid) and the community, er, their convictions, no, I mean the issue, was unanimously resolved (?) in VANOC’s direction.

Meanwhile…pay parking, no parking, limo parking, empty parking, paved parking, empty lifts, empty stores, empty beds, the CBC, and a global economic crisis…did I mention pay parking? And they charge for the free village shuttle only during the games (??).  From his seat on Apollo 13, Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) looked into space and saw the moon in the triangle window, like the ones with thumb locks that used to pop out on pick-up trucks.  I don’t remember who it was but someone said, ‘Imagine if we didn’t have the Olympics,’  Imagine…  I wonder if the Mayor and Council looked at Whistler from space what they would have seen?  Meanwhile back in Houston, “Gentlemen, failure is not an option.”

A year later…here we are.  The sliding centre scandal overshadowed the Olympic anniversary, Uncle Jon’s book release party was a bust, FIS dropped Whistler from competition (surprise, FIS still Sucks) – the rumor is the Dave Murray Downhill is being retired – pay parking is $1MM shy of forecasts, bus fares are up 25% (WTF?), taxes are going up…again… (BTW, why does my WHA housing always increase higher than average?), traffic is down, sales are down, profits are down…and let’s face it, reaching the moon is no longer the mission.  (Cut to the Apollo 13 team in Houston erasing and redrawing the plan on a chalkboard…stop and turn back or slingshot the moon’s gravity?)  Now we just want to survive (notice I didn’t say ‘sustain’.  I am so tired of sustainability talk AFTER all the overbuilding and overspending.  I’m pretty sure the Olympics weren’t in the 2020 plan…please tell me they weren’t!)  Survival is the new sustainability people and no, you can not justify buying carbon credits with my property tax increases.

Time to switch channels…could anything else go wrong? 

Somewhere high on ‘K2’ Taylor wipes the snow from his buddy Harold’s goggles.

“I can’t feel my legs Taylor.”

“That’s a good sign H, that’s a good sign.”

Sound familiar?

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