Council Briefs 

Council wants to engage community

Whistler council is engaging the community by proclaiming May 5 as Local Government Awareness Week in Whistler.

It’s not just a proclamation.

At the regular council meeting on Monday, May 5 there will be a mock junior council meeting with Whistler Secondary students. Seven students will take the places of the seven members of council and debate the issues of the day, primarily the budget.

"It’s a great exposure and opportunity for the kids," said Councillor Kristi Wells at Tuesday’s meeting.

"It’ll be as exciting as budget talk can get," she joked.

On Wednesday, May 7 there will be an open round table discussion between the community and council, fashioned after the highly successful WORCA round table meeting during the municipal elections last fall.

This is the time to meet the new council in an informal setting. The meeting will take place at the Spruce Grove Field House from 6 to 8 p.m.

The week has been designed to heighten community awareness of local government services.

WAVE operating agreement approved

Council passed the Annual Operating Agreement (AOA) for the local transit service this week, committing $625,000 to the operations this year, a decrease of more than $100,000.

The decrease is due to the expected revenue increase over the coming year. It is forecast that the Whistler and Valley Express will bring in more than $2-million this year, an increase of $134,000 or almost seven per cent.

Ridership is also expected to rise almost nine per cent, bringing the total number of riders moved by WAVE to more than 2.7 million, compared to 2.25 million last year.

Councillor Kristi Wells pointed out that there was a 19 per cent increase in ridership in the last two weeks of March.

The total cost of the AOA is almost $5 million. This has increased by one per cent primarily due to higher fuel costs, ICBC insurance, maintenance and driver wages and benefits.

The province will be contributing more than 53 per cent to the AOA.

Councillors praised the WAVE system on Tuesday night.

Councillor Caroline Lamont said: "We wouldn’t be a single car family if it wasn’t such a great transit system."

Public/private partnership for village toilets

Council approved a plan that will see the Timberline Lodge owners paying for the new public washrooms next to the renovated conference centre

Timberline Lodge owners have agreed to pay for the hard costs of construction, which are estimated at $127,000. They can pay this fee over a six-year period.

The owners are responsible for operating and maintaining the existing underground public washrooms under a covenant with the municipality.

The public washrooms were identified as a problem during the development of the Village Enhancement Strategy.

Tourism Whistler will operate and maintain the new washrooms, which will be above ground.

Councillor Kristi Wells praised the public/private partnership.

"I think it’s creative and I’m really pleased to see it come forward."

Library Web site up and running

It’s now that much easier to check out library books. Whistler’s "gateway to knowledge," is now online at www.whistlerlibrary.ca. The library’s Web site, which was launched this week, tells you what books are in, or out, in storage or missing. There’s an online learning centre, as well as a section to suggest an item for the library to purchase, among many other services.

The online site will make borrowing and lending books to the library’s 500 visitors each day much easier.

Library Director Joan Richoz presented council with information about the Web site at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Council helped the library last year with increased funding for the new Web site and library software.

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