Five visions of Whistler’s future soon released for public input 

Remember those summer evenings last year where more than 200 community members gathered to discuss Whistler’s future?

That was when Whistler first embarked on a planning process called Whistler. It’s Our Future, designed to get the public to add their two cents on the way the resort should grow and mature in years to come.

Concerned citizens grappled with the criteria needed for a successful and sustainable resort. They attended workshops, filled out questionnaires and pondered the future.

Now all the work that was done during that community consultation process last summer is on the verge of being presented to the public.

One month from now the municipality will release a workbook and ask for input on Whistler’s future. The criteria for success and sustainability have been distilled into five different scenarios of the future.

Even though the workbook is quite lengthy, the municipality’s Information Officer Diana Waltmann said it’s not hard to understand.

"It’s not that complicated but you have to read it from start to finish or it doesn’t make any sense," she said.

The workbook will outline five different scenarios of what Whistler could look like in the year 2020.

Over the course of the past year, the scenarios and their outcomes have been developed with the help of a computer program called Quest.

The program has been designed to calculate what the different future scenarios will look like based on changing factors. For example, at its most basic level it shows how many police officers are needed to cope with different population demands. But it can also show how different types of development can change environmental factors.

The workbook scenarios range from allowing more market development in the resort to sticking within the boundaries of the current Official Community Plan.

Residents will be asked to pick out the things they like as well as highlight their concerns. They will be given roughly three weeks to provide input on the scenarios.

"Staff will always be here to assist but we’ll have an evening dedicated to that," said Waltmann.

People will be able to go through the workshop online and there will be printed versions available. The municipality will also hold stakeholder group meetings for any interested community organizations.

Once all information has been collected, it will be distilled and taken to the public again.

Eventually one preferred scenario, chosen by the people, will be used to create the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan.

The CSP will replace the current planning documents. Council has listed finishing the CSP as its top priority for the next year.

Last summer the community pointed to roughly 50 criteria that contribute to the success and sustainability of Whistler. Some of the key criteria that were outlined at the time were the need to maintain a sense of place in Whistler through things like enhancing the village. Another big factor was having affordable housing for residents and general affordability to keep people living and working here. The environment was another big issue, with many residents recognizing that the future of the community may depend on the preservation of the natural environment.

A timeline for the whole process will be presented to council on Tuesday night at the regular council meeting.

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