Little debate on $49 million budget 

1.9 per cent property tax increase

Despite approving a five-year plan that will see the hotel tax reserve go into the negative balance by more than $2 million this year, council didn’t have much to say on the budget.

"It’s not that we’re being cavalier," said Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden Monday night.

She explained that council has been in budget workshops several times in recent months and she for one is "budgeted out."

Council approved the five-year financial plan 2006-2010 Monday, along with the 2006 tax rates. It must be adopted by the next council meeting on Monday, May 15 according to the provincial legislation.

Councillor Bob Lorriman said he looked forward to getting closer to the budget calendar outlined in the plan, which sees the budget adopted by December of the previous year.

The budget was late again this year because of November’s municipal elections which threw the process behind schedule.

Mayor Ken Melamed also highlighted that Whistler is only raising property taxes by inflation, on average a 1.9 per cent increase, despite the challenging economic times. The city of Vancouver, however, is raising taxes 4 per cent.

VANOC to talk sustainability with sponsors

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games is bringing its sustainability message to its corporate sponsors.

"We want them in on these goals," said Linda Coady, vice president of sustainability, VANOC. "And we know some of them want to be in."

This will be the first time in Olympic history that corporate sponsors have been schooled on sustainability from an organizing committee.

Coady and Donna Wilson, VANOC’s senior vice president of human resources and sustainability, presented VANOC’s sustainability roadmap to Whistler council Monday afternoon.

As they handed out cardboard folders to council with the details of VANOC’s sustainability mandate, Councillor Gord McKeever reminded them council is equipped to receive most information electronically. This has been a policy in recent years as Whistler council tries to move away from paper agendas and information packages.

The VANOC representatives took note of his comment.

The sponsors dialogue will be happening in July, bringing together top sponsors such as Coca Cola and McDonald’s as well as national sponsors such as Rona and Bell Canada.

The key to getting VANOC’s sustainability message across, said Coady, is to start early and continue to work on it over the next four years. It’s also important to speak to the companies’ strategic objectives and how those objectives mesh with VANOC’s sustainability goals.

"Even a small move on the part of a (major sponsor), it can lead to an amazing change," said Wilson.

Mayor Ken Melamed said Whistler has a role to play in getting the sustainability message across as part of the 2010 Games.

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