Final chance to air OCP concerns at public hearing 

RMOW ponders coat of arms application and phase two of website

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The last chance to add your two cents to the plan that will guide Whistler's land use in the coming years is fast approaching.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. council will hold a public hearing on the draft Official Community Plan. The public hearing is one of the steps before council can consider third reading of the bylaws and then send the plan to the province where the minister of community, sport and development must approve it.

Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations have repeatedly asked council to delay consideration of the OCP bylaws and consider their concerns surrounding their claimed aboriginal rights and title.

"The Squamish and Lil'wat Nations desire positive relationships with the RMOW," wrote their lawyer Gregory McDade in a letter to council on Oct. 15. "We urge your Council to reconsider and leave open further negotiations to resolve this matter, perhaps with the inclusion of the (p)rovince, before RMOW has hardened its position on the OCP through first and second readings and a public hearing on a version that must be amended."

First Nations are concerned not just with the process of engagement with Whistler in developing the OCP but also over the issue that the plan puts a "hard cap" on development.

Council approved first two readings of the bylaw the day after receiving McDade's letter.

Coat of Arms considered

The municipality has the stylized 'W' as its official logo but it could have something a little more... regal to represent the resort.

Council will be considering penning a formal request to the Chief Herald of Canada for a grant of armorial bearings from the Canadian Crown. The coats of arms would have a shield, and may also include a crest and a motto.

If council decides to move ahead with the request, the municipality will write to the Chief Herald of Canada stating the wish "to receive armorial bearings of the Canadian Crown under the powers exercised by the Governor General."

The application would include a brief history of Whistler, a copy of the document establishing the town's legal existence and the most recent annual report.

If it approved, Whistler will work with the Crown to design a coat of arms.

It would take about a year before the coat of arms is complete. It is not clear when council will be considering the request.

Work to continue on muni website

The second phase of work on the municipal website is planned for this fall, including the redesign of a mobile site.

The municipality issued the Request For Proposals last month.

It states: "The RMOW would like the current site to reflect changes in online and social media technology. The mission of the phase 2 project is to create a clean communication channel capable of effectively reaching and meeting the needs of site user groups."

The website, whistler.ca, has roughly 18,000 visits per months.

The second phase of work is designed to "reflect the RMOW's commitment to open and transparent communication and exceptional customer service."

Whistler.ca was redesigned and launched one year ago. At that time, it was designed to grow and change with new technology and demands.

"We need to continue to evolve the website to meet the needs of the community," said Michele Comeau, communications manager with the municipality. "This will include engaging an external company to assist with some updates to the site, the development of a mobile site, and ongoing maintenance and updates to the site."

It is not clear at this point what company has been chosen from the RFP and what the budget is for the second phase of the project.

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