Advocacy in Action: Focus on Function

April 11, 2024

The Whistler Chamber headed south of the village to hear what’s on the mind of businesses in Function Junction. Many thanks to the businesses who attended and to the Whistler Brewing Company for hosting us, keeping the conversation flowing with their delicious pizza.

Here’s What We Heard

  • While some businesses in Function Junction are less influenced by visitation trends, the impact of the slow start to the season and mild weather trickled down into businesses that supply restaurants and bars, and other servicing operators (e.g. activity related).
  • Transportation is a hot topic, covering a range of areas:
    • Highway volumes / conditions impact neighbourhood access at pinch point times (outbound services and/or inbound customers)
    • As the neighbourhood evolves, different user groups highlight safety issues due to lack of sidewalks and snow banks limiting visibility 
    • Increased transit is welcomed for staffing, customers and residents
    • A desire for more EV chargers and parking
  • The need for affordable housing and its impact on labour is felt across the community, including businesses in Function Junction.

  • Ease of Doing Business. A number of businesses highlighted the importance of streamlined processes. Permit delays can have many impacts, including paying rent on empty commercial units, unused housing, staff layoffs as work is reduced, and even challenges with LMIAs.

Chamber insight – what to watch:

  • The RMOW has committed to increase staffing in the Building Department (three new positions were hired by Jan 2024) and has set a goal of 8-12 weeks to process simpler applications, and under 24 weeks to process all applications.
  • Watch the RMOW Committee of the Whole Meeting (around 46.30) for staffing and timelines.

Image: RMOW Committee of the Whole Meeting, January 9, 2024


Other discussion areas:

  • Formal /appropriately designed signage is desired to promote amenities, services and businesses.
  • There was support for events, with the overall positive impact outweighing one-off inconveniences.
  • Questions were asked in relation to the new development on Lil’wat Nation owned lands.


What’s Next

  • The Whistler Chamber takes the input from our business roundtables and uses the knowledge to inform our advocacy efforts, which includes communication with resort partners, elected officials, events and more.
  • Affordable employee housing is the key issue facing our membership. The Whistler Chamber is creating a Whistler Chamber Housing Task Force to help facilitate short to medium term actions for the Whistler Chamber in order to support and advocate for Whistler’s employee housing needs. Terms of Reference are currently being prepared and outreach will happen in the next few weeks.
  • The next Advocacy in Action session is a business roundtable with MLA Sturdy on June 13.


We Speak up for You

The Whistler Chamber advocates on behalf of the local business community to influence policy and decision-makers to address issues, such as difficulties with the labour market, housing challenges, and rising costs of doing business. Our team is in regular contact with Mayor and Council, MLA Jordan Sturdy, MP Patrick Weiler, and the extended Chamber network throughout BC to discuss the ever-changing business landscape as employers grapple with these issues.


How Can I Get Involved?

We keep our finger on the pulse through regular touch points with our Members. Advocacy in Action Member Input Sessions, presented by TD, are a great method of connecting – these small group discussions with community leaders from various industries provide an opportunity to discuss the needs and developing concerns of Whistler’s businesses.


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