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This threat still looms large as Whistler ushers in 2013. In November Whistler sent its Official Community Plan (the OCP) to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development for approval, without the blessing of Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations. The OCP reinforces Whistler's long-held position that there should be a "hard cap" on development across the resort, including on Crown land, "upon which there is unresolved aboriginal rights and title," said the Nations' lawyer Greg McDade.
"The Nations were willing to work with RMOW to find a way to solve this, but now may be forced to block the OCP approval from the province until there is a resolution."
When asked at the last council meeting of the year for an update on the OCP, municipal administrator Mike Furey said:
"They (the province) have all the information and they're considering it... We're hoping again early in the New Year we'll hear back from them."
A legal challenge from First Nations over the OCP could have sweeping ramifications across the province.
JAZZ ON THE MOUNTAIN
The founder of the Jazz on the Mountain festival threatened to sue Whistler for trademark infringement in May. Arnold Schwisberg, a high profile Toronto-based liquor lawyer, wrote a letter to Jan Jansen, the RMOW's general manager of resort experience, stating he would be seeking $704,000 in damages stemming from a series of Vancouver print ads advertising the 2011 jazz festival as part of the municipal Whistler Presents free concert series. His decision came on the heels of a denial of $150,000 in municipal funds for the festival and a subsequent decision to cancel the 2012 festival. The threat of the legal challenge highlighted the issues around the fledging municipal Festivals, Events & Animation (FE&A) program and the decisions around divvying up millions of provincial grant money to spice up the festival and events line-up.
The lawsuit was never filed.
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