This letter is in response to your article "Community grapples with criteria for sustainability" (Pique, Aug. 2)
First off, I would like to state that I am strong supporter of achieving a sustainability plan; its the process Im having difficulty with.
To start, the RMOW asked the community to select one of four consultant groups that made presentations then council rejected our input and put together a concoction of individual consultants who had never even worked together.
The result, instead of the well thought out program from the group we selected, we have a very disjointed process that appears lacking in direction. We now seem to be pursuing the illusive sustainability vision without a clear methodology as to how to achieve the desired end result. This lack of guidance has seemingly left the consultants to wander somewhat aimlessly. For example:
"A vision for the resort community is commonly held by residents, business owners, ski area owners, the municipality and the province."
Or how about this gem:
"Everyone works in partnerships to achieve the vision, adapt to changing markets, create a better experience for the visitor, build a strong community and sustain success."
These are just the first two of 54 criteria Im amazed they left out "Pray for snow."
So now we end up with a top heavy, obviously expensive and annoyingly condescending process. When asked about the results to date, Tom Fletcher (from Vancouver), who is the project manager, quickly came to the consultant's defense stating that:
"With any consultant... its difficult to predict if theyre in tune with what the community really wants to hear."
Whoa Tom, were spending well over $700,000 on these consultants. I would like to think they are being given more direction than asking them to simply figure out what we want to hear.
I also find disturbing all the money we have paid to U.S.-based consultants when there are very capable people within our valley. I wonder if the outside consultants had a good chuckle when they wrote:
"Local buying networks and other mechanisms are created to encourage the purchase of local goods and services and keep money circulating in the community."
Speaking of which, has anyone else tried to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org? It goes directly to a public relations firm in Vancouver is that the future we want?
Enough whining, weve paid them a ton of cash, so lets do something positive and keep working towards the goal.
WORCA has organized its own workshop on Sept. 4, 7 p.m. at the ski club cabin. But instead of spending a lot of time on the 54 motherhood statements they are going to focus on the three or four issues that they believe to be more specific to Whistler's successful future: affordability, livability, quality of life and range of opportunity. Brent Harley & Associates, leaders in resort planning, locals, and WORCA members, will help facilitate the workshop. Wow, imagine the concept of using local "goods and services."
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