Boineau: S’mass at a critical stage |

Boineau: S’mass at a critical stage

John Colson

When asked why he wants to return to service on the Snowmass Village Council, candidate Bill Boineau replied, “I believe that Snowmass is at a critical stage.”

He said that a certain level of development is good for a community, in order to avoid becoming “stagnant,” and added, “I believe we … have to think about what we’re here for.”

Without the ski slopes and the resort, he said, the Snowmass Valley might still be a quiet sheep-ranching area, and the Village Council must work to keep the resort attractive to visitors.

“We are a resort, and we have to stop asking the question, which are we [a community or a resort]?” he said, a reference to the village’s history of debate over which aspect should be dominant in the town’s life.

Boineau, 42, has lived in Snowmass since 1976, 13 years of that with his wife and family. He served on the Village Council from 1994 to 1998, one term, and then bowed out of public office.

One reason he hopes to be returned to the council table, he said, is to improve the level of communication between the elected village leaders and their constituency. He said he feels the plan for a new transit center next to the Village Mall is being “pushed down the peoples’ throats.”

While Boineau said he believes some such facility is needed, he feels a greater share of the cost should be borne by “the landlords” who own the properties at the mall that generate the traffic that makes a transit center necessary.

He said the property owners have tried to push too much of the costs off on their tenants, through higher rents, and the public, through the sale of municipal bonds. As an example of the rising rents, he said that one local business, Snowmass Outfitters, decided to go out of business because it cannot afford the $9,000-per-month lease rates.

He also said he feels the transit center project would not suffer if it were slowed down and studied some more, both in terms of what is needed and how to pay for it.

“I don’t know, honestly, if government can do it,” Boineau said.

Another serious issue facing the town, he said, is what to do about the base village, the Aspen Skiing Co. project that will essentially fill in the last open, developable parcels in the village.

“We don’t want to see the large buildings coming in,” Boineau said, “but it’s going to be dense, I believe.” He said the town should “work with the density” and try to dovetail its own transit and affordable housing plans to those of the Skico.

Regarding concerns that the base village may pose a competitive problem for existing Snowmass businesses, Boineau indicated that more businesses may be needed in order to boost the town’s declining sales tax revenues.

And, he said, competition might not be that bad for the mall businesses, anyway.

“One thing that might happen is the landlords may have to reduce their rents,” thereby giving a little relief to the existing mall businesses, he said.

Another important platform plank for Boineau is his intention of improving the village’s connection to the Internet. He has been working to bring “broadband,” high-speed Internet connections to the town hall, which then could become a launch point for better Internet connections for residences and businesses.

“We have a lot of people who are captains of industry here, who would like to be here more of the year,” he maintained, explaining that if they were able to “telecommute” they could spend more time here.

Voters should put him in office, Boineau said, “because I care about the resort as a whole. I don’t have any special interest groups.”

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