Consultant’s fees largely responsible for putting CSP over budget 

Fletcher was originally considered part of municipal staff

Whistler’s Comprehensive Sustainability Plan is roughly $430,000 over budget to date.

Originally budgeted at $841,000 over 2002 and 2003, the $333,000 cost of Project Manager Tom Fletcher was not factored into the CSP budget. He was initially considered part of municipal staff.

His costs have since been added, bringing the CSP price tag to $1.27 million to date.

"It's just a new decision to bring out his fees as separate (from municipal staff)," said Diana Waltmann, information officer with the municipality.

The municipality released a rough breakdown of expenditures on the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan this week at the request of some members of council.

The information was posted to the municipality's Web site after Monday's council meeting, where Councillor Kristi Wells asked for all the numbers to be made public.

"The community is anxious to know about it," she said to her fellow councillors, some of whom weren't as eager to share the information.

The released numbers show that more than $800,000 was spent on the CSP through 2002. The following year a further $130,000 was spent for a total of $930,00.

This breakdown includes the amount that was spent on the proposal call, consultants’ fees for defining the success and sustainable criteria for a resort community, public participation, the Web site and a general category which includes information such as telephone, office, capital and advertising expenses.

But Wells said those numbers alone are a little misleading.

Her figures show that in 2002 an additional $154,000 was paid out to Fletcher, an outside contractor. The following year he was paid almost $179,000.

Over the two-year period he was paid more than $333,000 for his work on the CSP. He is no longer working on the project.

When Fletcher’s fees are added to the project, the total costs to date are more than $1.27 million, a figure the municipality made public three weeks ago. More than half of the money was spent on consultants/managers.

"We overspent," said Wells simply after Monday's council meeting.

"Things happened. There are reasons for it. I'm not going to make any excuses but I'd like to be accountable by that and say exactly what we overspent on."

The CSP update on the RMOW Web site also shows that $207,000 is budgeted for the process in 2004.

That's a figure that baffles Wells.

"The most important part of the CSP and the majority of the work is still to come," she said.

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