Changing of the guard for AWARE 

There's a new guard overseeing the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE).

The organization celebrated its 20 th year with an annual general meeting on Thursday, April 2 that included cake and the introduction of a brand new board, with some returning faces.

Among returning directors are Sara Jennings, who most recently served as president, as well as Claire Ruddy and Marie Fortin. Jennings will be serving as president for another term. Other positions, which include vice-president, treasurer and secretary, have yet to be worked out.

Ruddy has been involved with AWARE for a year now and has a Bachelor of Sciences in Environmental Science, as well as a Master's in Environment and Business. She said in her application for directorship that she's worked with various businesses to reduce their environmental impacts and also worked as a project manager for an environmental charity in the United Kingdom for two years.

Fortin, meanwhile, is the force behind Hilltrip Communications, a Whistler-based communications company that promotes events such as the monthly Green Drinks at Black's Pub, as well as the Energy Film Festival as part of the annual EnviroFest.

New directors include Iain Carson-Huggins, who has yet to reach his 19 th birthday; Inge Flanagan, a past vice-president of AWARE and a "Buyer's Helper" with Thornhill Real Estate Group; Zuleika Pevec, who has worked in environmental education in Vancouver, Hawaii and Brazil; and Sharon French, who wants to see a "plastic bag free" Whistler, according to her directorship application.

Departing directors include Kiran Pal-Pross, coordinator of Late and Unique Nighttime Activities (LUNA) and a central voice behind Whistler's campaign for a plastic bag ban; Sholto Shaw, a lawyer with Race and Company who most recently served as AWARE's treasurer; and Pina Belperio, co-founder of Whistler Watch and a board member with the Council of Canadians.

Some directors leaving the board may consider returning but have yet to let AWARE know of their attentions, according to Jennings.

Items at the AGM included a recap of AWARE's history. It was started in 1989 by a group of community members who wanted to start a recycling program in Whistler. Their efforts were successful and today recycling bins can be found alongside almost every garbage bin in the village.

Ken Melamed, currently mayor of the municipality, served as AWARE president for seven years.

Other items at the AGM included AWARE's finances. Outgoing treasurer Sholto Shaw said the organization spent about $31,000 on bringing Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Whistler for a talk on the environment as nature's infrastructure.

The event brought approximately 750 people to the Telus Conference Centre for a high-profile event to celebrate AWARE's 20 th anniversary. At the talk, Kennedy spoke on numerous topics including Bill 30, an amendment the provincial government brought forward that keeps local governments from having a veto over public utilities.

The event made between $14,000 and $15,000, according to Shaw, although that doesn't include credit card donations collected at the event. He added that the event wasn't necessarily a fundraiser.

Outgoing director Bryce Leigh contrasted that number against Al Gore's speaking fees, which he said are approximately $150,000.


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