New approach to sustainability plan 

There is still no decision on which consultants will help draft Whistler’s Comprehensive Sustainability Plan.

A decision on which firm would get the $500,000 contract was expected at a special council meeting Feb. 11, but was shelved when strong differences of opinion among staff and councillors became evident.

The GBH Consulting Group from Victoria was favoured by municipal staff and members of the public who participated in a Feb. 2 presentation session that lasted more than four hours. But Councillors Nick Davies and Ted Milner favoured the presentation by the Denver-based Centre for Resource Management. Councillor Kristi Wells and Mayor Hugh O’Reilly didn’t feel comfortable with any of the consultants’ presentations.

A decision was expected this week but instead a press release issued at Monday’s council meeting stated: "Staff is now exploring an option whereby the project would draw on the expertise of various members of the two teams, or other experts from outside the two teams, at different stages of the plan’s development."

Mike Purcell, general manager of planning and development services for the municipality, said a variety of experts and consultants may be used to draft different parts of the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan. Council will review details of this approach at their March 4 meeting.

Each of the four consulting teams that made a presentation on Feb. 2 was paid $10,000 for their proposals. Originally it was anticipated only two or three teams would be invited to submit funded proposals. But a November report from staff to council stated that: "Since each of the four teams exhibited particular strengths, it was felt that the overall process would benefit from the perspectives that each of the four teams could offer through the funded proposal stage."

While the approach to using consultants to draft the CSP has changed, the municipality retains the right to the intellectual property from the four presentations.

The original timeline for the CSP was to have the work completed by Aug. 1 of this year and guided early implementation of the plan complete by Nov. 1.

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