Letters to the Editor 

Centre for Sustainability wants to set record straight

Centre for Sustainability wants to set record straight

Bob Calladine, in his letter to the editor in both the Pique and the Question asks for someone to offer some further insight to the comments he made.

For a broader explanation of what the Centre for Sustainability is about, please refer to the article "Whistler's Sustainability Advantage: The Whistler Centre for Sustainability" in the Nov 25, 2010 edition of the Pique or at www.whistlercentre.ca.

For now, I will just shed some light on Bob's statements.

The Centre for Sustainability assists communities with long-range, comprehensive sustainability visioning, planning and implementation, building upon the expertise and lessons learned in managing and facilitating Whistler2020.

To our knowledge, we have not competed directly with any local businesses in this area. Instead, we have collaborated numerous times with local businesses and consultants to build stronger proposals, a few of which we have won together.

We have also hired a number of local businesses to deliver projects or services. We were glad to hear that Mr. Calladine feels that the Whistler2020 planning, monitoring and engagement process was successfully run by RMOW staff; that's why half of those staff moved over to become Centre employees to keep up these Whistler2020 activities.

Of course what makes Whistler2020 so successful isn't just the Centre's work, but rather the commitment and programming of 54 partner organizations and 180 Task Force members that have dedicated countless hours to the planning and actions on the ground.

Aside from managing Whistler2020, we have assisted the RMOW on the Cultural Tourism Development Strategy, by facilitating input from the Whistler2020Arts, Culture and Heritage Task Force. We did not play any role in the RMOW's in-house reviews, nor are we responsible for the management of the OCP.

We are also assisting 30 Whistler businesses and organizations, through a grant from the Government of Canada, Department of the Environment, to develop customized sustainability plans and implementation strategies.

Outside of Whistler, we are currently working with five municipalities on their community sustainability plans, and on three energy plans.

The Resort Municipality Grant from the RMOW was part of a five-year tourism development strategy agreement made with the Province, is less than one-fifth of our annual budget, and ends at the end of this year.

This grant would not be able to be used for transit or any other traditional essential service as suggested by Mr. Calladine. We at the Centre - staff and board - applaud the innovation and entrepreneurial government culture exhibited by the RMOW and the commitment by task forces to continually push for this organization and put the steps in place to create the Whistler Centre for Sustainability. Results of that investment are already evident - within Whistler and outside - and many communities around Canada are seeing the creation of the Centre as yet another innovative initiative led by Whistler. We invite anyone with questions about the Centre to check out our website whistlercentre.ca, drop by for a coffee, or give us a call or email anytime.

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