Whistler brainstorms how to help Syrian refugees
Whistler’s mayor says she has heard nothing but positive feedback from the resort town's residents
Whistler is holding a public forum Wednesday night to discuss what its residents can do to help some of the 2,700 Syrian refugees arriving in British Columbia.
Some small towns in B.C. have expressed concern about the arrival of refugees in their communities, but others say refugees will stimulate local economies.
Whistler's mayor, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, says she has heard nothing but positive feedback from the resort town's residents.
"I've had numerous phone calls, emails, people stopping me on the street saying, this is the right thing to do, what can I do to help?"
Wihelm-Morden says people have even told her they'd offer their house up to refugees.
Calling Whistler home
Whistler has had trouble attracting service workers in the past and this summer, its chamber of commerce acknowledged businesses are dealing with a labour shortage. But Wilhelm-Morden says making the town hospitable for refugees will not be a problem.
"There are 10,000 people who live here in Whistler and have done for decades. Our income levels are not necessarily comparable to provincial and national levels but we make it happen," she said.
"Whistler is a wonderful place to live. A great place to raise a family and if we can share it with some refugee families we need to."
How to help refugees
Refugee experts and leaders from other small towns will share their ideas on how Whistler can help refugees at tonight's community forum.
"This is an opportunity for Whistler residents to learn what the current status of refugees coming to Canada is, what programs are available federally and provincially, and an opportunity to hear what small communities like ours are doing," said Wihelm-Morden.
The municipality is willing to provide refugees with housing as well as transit and recreational passes to help them settle in town, according to Wihelm-Morden.
Community Information and Action Planning Forum takes place tonight 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. at the Whistler Public Library.
To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: Syrian refugees in Whistler.