200 turn out to help chose sustainability consultants 

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The four teams each had 45 minutes to present their case with a 15-minute period following the presentation to address questions from the public.

Despite the lengthy event, the public posed some interesting questions to each group.

Some questions centred around how the sustainability plan would jive with the 2010 Olympic bid, others focused on the plan's budget and the short six-month timeline that has been allocated to create the plan.

"(The teams) all had a very different flavour," said Zeidler.

One of the teams, the Center for Resource Management, has strong roots in Whistler although it is based out of Denver, Colorado.

Terry Minger, the president of company, remembers when Al Raine and Nancy Greene, came into his Vail office with the original plans for the Whistler Village. Minger and Eldon Beck, another member of the Center for Resource Management team, then went over these plans on the office floor, adding their input and vision of what was to become present day Whistler Village.

Another key player on this team is Myles Rademan, the public affairs director for the Park City (Utah) Municipal Corporation. Rademan talked about how his city used the Salt Lake Olympic Games as a catalyst to become more sustainable. But he said that Whistler's proposal is really unlike any other.

"This will not be easy. You are stepping out into uncharted territory," he said.

While Minger's team has strong Whistler connections, the GBH Consulting Group has strong Canadian connections, based out of Victoria.

And while the other teams touched on the importance of community involvement in this process, GBH really hammered home the point, including ideas like developing a database, sending out questionnaires, penning a newsletter on the Web site, having two public workshops and "kitchen table meetings." These meetings would be an attempt to get more community involvement.

GBH was also the only team to bring up the importance of including First Nations in the consultation process.

The remaining teams were both based out of the U.S, the first in Santa Monica, California and the second in Denver, Colorado.

RAND Environment began their pitch with a flashy computer presentation complete with a skiing allegory.

Just as a skier goes down a course with obstacles, so does Whistler face problems like the bed cap, affordable housing and rising property taxes.

RAND said they would take on a highly participatory, hands-on approach in which they would encourage the community to claim the sustainability plan as their own because eventually the consultants will leave and it will be up to the Whistler residents to become its advocators.

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