City of Revelstoke Chief Administrative Officer Tim Palmer presents the results of a public survey exploring Revelstoke's transition to the resort community. The presentation to city council was on Mar. 13.

Listening to Revelstoke’s silent majority

CAO Palmer’s survey shows opinion trends on transition to resort community

City of Revelstoke Chief Administrative Officer Tim Palmer’s presented city council with preliminary results of a survey he’s conducted about Revelstoke’s transition to a resort community.

Palmer’s preliminary report to council on Mar. 13 wasn’t official business. It’s a survey he conducted for an MBA program he’s taking, though he told the Times Review that he will eventually make recommendations to council.

Palmer discussed his preliminary findings at the council meeting and in a subsequent interview with the Times Review.

He felt the survey was a useful tool so far. “A lot of people don’t really feel like they’re being heard,” Palmer said, noting an inherent contradiction. Many said they had strong views and opinions and would share them with their friends and family. But it was different when it came to sharing them publicly. They worried about getting “beat up in the public forum” or that “no one would listen.”

What did the survey on the transition to a resort community show? Here’s some highlights:

– 67 per cent felt tourism had helped Revelstoke’s economy in the past 5 years, while only 17 per cent said tourism made it worse

– 68 per cent were positive about how they feel about Revelstoke today.

– 62 per cent were positive about Revelstoke’s future, while 28 per cent felt the opposite.

– People were split on a similar question. 38 per cent said Revelstoke is becoming a better place to live, while 40 per cent disagreed

– 50 per cent felt Revelstoke needs to promote tourism more, while 26 per cent disagreed

– Respondents felt they weren’t being heard. 59 per cent said their opinions on matters associated with Revelstoke’s transition to a tourism-based economy were not being heard. Only 13 per cent said they were.

– 57 per cent felt skiing and snowboarding were over-emphasized.

– 85 per cent felt tourism in general is beneficial to Revelstoke.

– However, 60 per cent said Revelstoke didn’t need any more resorts

– 55 per cent felt the development of the ski hill had benefited the city of Revelstoke, while 31 per cent disagreed.

– 40 per cent feel Revelstoke is losing too much of its heritage while 32 per cent disagreed.

– 64 per cent felt more should be done to help local businesses, while only 12 per cent disagreed

– 86 per cent liked Revelstoke’s small town feel and want to protect it.

– 66 per cent said Revelstoke needs to rethink what it is becoming, while only 14 per cent disagreed with this view.

– So, who should lead this transition to a resort economy? 31 per cent felt it was up to the mayor and council, 19 per cent said community groups and 13 per cent said private enterprise — these were the leaders amongst other answers.

Palmer said the next step was a council strategic planning session in the near future.

He’s also focusing on local government’s role in doing the transition right. “I’m looking at quite a wide variety of other communities that have transitioned from more of a resource-based economic base more towards tourism and seeing some of the issues that they’ve run into at the local government level, and what are some of the success stories they’ve had … and the failures out there as well,” he said. “[Are]there some lessons for us to be learned … in Revelstoke?”

Palmer said one theme came across clearly: “There’s a very, very strong sense that the community does not want to become Whistler, they want to be Revelstoke.”

 

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