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Resident affordability and environment get attention on council work plan

Two-day retreat vastly different atmosphere than retreat three years ago
positive vibes From left: Steve Anderson, Jack Crompton, Jen Ford, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, John Grills, Andrée Janyk, Sue Maxwell. Photo by david buzzard/

Whistler's new council is putting its own stamp on business at the hall.

While there are no drastic changes for the municipal work plan on the horizon, council has added its two cents to the Corporate Plan, the overarching document that guides strategic decision-making within the hall.

In the coming years there will be more emphasis on long-term resident affordability and a refocus on environmental performance outcomes.

The tweaks come after a two-day council retreat at the Brew Creek Centre Dec. 17-18. By and large, however, the new council will be sticking to the path set by previous council.

"We really are interested in getting done what we said we would do and what is, well, in the pipeline from the previous council," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden after the retreat. "There's a lot of work that is either in process or about to be in process. We want to get those things done."

The Corporate Plan and its changes will be presented in the New Year, but the mayor touched on the two areas of emphasis.

She said the municipality has long been concerned about resident affordability as highlighted in the community satisfaction survey and housing surveys.

"But we want to raise the profile of that issue a little bit in the Corporate Plan," she explained.

The same is true, she said, of the municipal environmental performance outcomes.

Council will be refocusing on that side of things.

"We did have a presentation of the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and there are some things that we have to pay attention to in the community from an environmental perspective like energy usage, water usage and so on," said Wilhelm-Morden. "We're not going in the right direction with some of those things. We need to pay attention to that."

How they're going to get there will be part of the work staff will be doing in the New Year.

"When the Corporate Plan is presented there will be detailed action steps under each," said the mayor. "We didn't get into that at the retreat."

She also touched on the positive vibe at the meeting — a complete turnaround of the atmosphere at the council retreat three years ago.

"There wasn't a whole lot of trust emanating from either side," recalled the mayor, noting that three years ago she, and some of the other councillors, had campaigned on the idea of "cleaning house" at the hall. Staff was also finding its way under the new CAO Mike Furey.

Three years has made a tremendous difference in that respect, said Wilhelm-Morden, adding there was a positive vibe at the recent retreat, a feeling of trust and working together.

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