Aware AGM 

Interest in AWARE board grows

Wendy Horan returns as president

A strange thing happened at the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment annual general meeting last Sunday.

Only three of the 13 directors that were on the previous board stepped down, while the remaining 10 indicated that they would run again - something that is usually a formality. When it came time to nominate and second new directors to the board, however, instead of a handful of members getting their arms twisted, eight new candidates stepped forward.

Under its current constitution, AWARE is only allowed 14 board members, and has often made do with less. As a result of the interest this year, AWARE held its first ever election.

"It's funny. Usually we have to beg people to join the board, and now we're having an election. It shows just how far that AWARE has come in the last few years," said Mitch Rhodes.

Rhodes was an AWARE president for two years, and served as the treasurer last year. His bid for re-election was successful and he will return to the AWARE board for 2004 as the vice-president and treasurer.

Wendy Horan will return for her second year as president, and Brad Kasselman will serve as the group's second vice-president. Karina Andrus is back as the secretary, rounding out the executive positions on the board.

Other directors elected this year include Eckhard Zeidler, Jamie Mackay, Sara Jennings, Sarah Weber, Michele Comeau Thompson, Al Whitney, Leanne Lamoureux, Kennan Moses, Dan McDonald and Sorcha Masterson.

McDonald is also the current president of the Whistler Naturalists, while Masterson is the Naturespeak co-ordinator for the Naturalists.

The nominees who weren't elected were encouraged to stay involved with AWARE's various committees, and AWARE was considering a motion to revisit their constitution and increase the number of directors.

Financially, AWARE is in a stable position with $14,824 in the bank.

Over the last year AWARE received more than $56,082 in donations, grants and membership dues, plus another $29,842 as the main beneficiary of the Cornucopia food and wine festival in November.

In the grant department, AWARE received money from a municipal grant-in-aid, Tides Canada, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Employee Fund, the Community Foundation of Whistler, the municipality, the Whistler-Blackcomb Environment Fund, and Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST). They also received money from the Community Foundation of Whistler in concert with the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association to go towards a trail maintenance project in the valley.

In total, AWARE received more than $86,500 in 2003, more than double what it received in 2002.

Some $71,731 of that money was spent, including $58,713 on AWARE campaigns and projects, including:

 $18,843 to participate in the Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan;

 $14,505 on composting projects and advocacy;

 $4,320 on a proposed Olympic Wildlife Refuge in the Upper Soo Valley, which AWARE hopes can help to mitigate the impact of Olympic development in the neighbouring Callaghan Valley;

 $4,500 on transportation programs in co-operation with BEST;

 $6,300 on Whistler's Sustainability Initiative;

 $9,370 on trail maintenance with the Community Foundation of Whistler and WORCA;

 $9,370 towards AWARE's project co-ordinator.

AWARE finished the year with close to $15,000 in the bank, but is already committed to projects that will exceed that total. With other Early Adopters, AWARE is co-sponsoring the Whistler Sustainability Speaker Series, which got back on track on Thursday with a presentation by Coro Strandberg. They also have a commitment to the Sea to Sky LRMP process, as well as various projects around the valley.

For more information on AWARE and AWARE's campaigns, visit

AWARE meets on the first Thursday of every month in the Delta Whistler Resort at 7 p.m. Guest speakers from around B.C. and reports from committees and directors are part of the agenda.


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