Local "vision-thing" process clears first hurdle
The first stage in establishing Whistler's official vision for the future has been completed, and organizers will now be moving on to a telephone survey to help refine the results.
The Whistler 2002 vision document was presented to nearly 175 residents during last December's annual town hall workshop, with more than 20 smaller workshops held since then with community groups, municipal staff and other stakeholders.
Diana Waltmann, information officer for the municipality, said 1,800 vision workbooks were distributed and about 75 workbooks and comment sheets have been returned.
The data, collected by Simon Fraser University's centre for tourism policy and research, shows that respondents tend to agree with the resort's community values and vision statement, and most of the priorities and directions put forward.
According to the results generated so far, Waltmann said environmental stability in the face of growth and development has been noted as a top priority amongst Whistler residents, as well as pressing forward for affordability in housing and lifestyle.
Respondents were less keen on taxpayer costs going toward efforts which would encourage cultural and ethnic diversity in the community.
"We were blown away by the amount of detail people provided," Waltmann told council last week. "We look forward to getting it into a little more compact form."
Councillor Ken Melamed said the local vision process proves local governments can be very successful in its efforts to encourage public participation and community involvement in key issues. He said Whistler's process will help set an example for other communities, especially places where vision statements are designed without the input of residents and taxpayers.
Waltmann said municipal staff are beginning a modification of the vision document based upon the early results and a new telephone survey will follow.