Greenhouse gas targets to be added to Whistler’s OCP 

Whistler's efforts to cut down on green house gases are moving from ideological principles to policy.

This summer, staff at municipal hall are drafting an amendment to Whistler's Official Community Plan that sets targets for greenhouse gas emissions.

Last week, housing planner Guy Patterson outlined for council how municipal staff plans to consult the community and stakeholders about reducing emissions. Specifically, staff will hold a public meeting, talk to the school board, meet with several Whistler 2020 task forces and consult with representatives from both the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations.

This public consultation should cost $5,000 or less, said Patterson.

Whistler's Official Community Plan was adopted in 1993. It is widely acknowledged that over the past 16 years, the plan has become outdated. However, the municipality's chief administration officer, Bill Barratt, has said staff members do not have enough time to dive into the lengthy process of updating the planning document until after the 2010 Olympics.

On Tuesday, Patterson said the provincial government requires Whistler to add greenhouse gas emission targets to the community plan by May 31, 2010.

Therefore, staff has suggested a modest public consultation and community plan amendment for 2009, followed by a complete community plan revision in 2010 after the Games.

"There is a more comprehensive review and update of the OCP planned for 2010, but that wouldn't be completed in time for us to meet our green house gas deadlines," said Patterson.

"They (the green house gas emission targets) would potentially be revisited when the OCP is brought under revision next year."

Other "green" policy documents the municipality has to reduce greenhouse gases include: Whistler 2020, the Community Energy Play, Whistler Green, Partners for Climate Protection and the Climate Action Charter.

Said Patterson: "Really this OCP amendment would just formalize our legislated obligation and hopefully enforce what we are already trying to achieve."

Camping back at Riverside

Thirty-three camping spots near Fitzsimmons Creek will soon be reopened by Riverside RV Resort and Campground.

With little more than one month left of summer, Whistler council last week unanimously approved camping on the sites.

The decision was made with little debate during the July 21 meeting, although Councillor Ted Milner stressed how important it is to wrap up the process before the summer is over.

"Since this is a time-sensitive matter, I am supporting this application," said Milner.

Riverside is Whistler's only campground.

Last year, the campsite's owners had to shut down their 33 established camping spots because they lay in a floodway. Councillors of the day were concerned the land was not safe for people to sleep over night.

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