Non profits pitch to council for municipal grants 

Council asks for their funding plans to align with Whistler 2020 vision

The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) is asking the municipality for money to take part in an Independent Power Project strategy for the area.

Eckhard Zeidler, who spoke to council on behalf of AWARE, explained that there is a growing feeling in the Sea to Sky corridor that IPPs cannot be developed randomly throughout the area and a collective strategy must be developed.

AWARE, he said, wants to work with local governments and IPP producers to be a part of the strategy.

"There's got to be a middle ground and AWARE want to be a part of that," said Zeidler.

The funds, if granted, would also go towards monitoring and following up with the Land And Resource Management Plan – a regional land use plan completed last year but yet to be approved by the province, in which AWARE was instrumental in pushing for a series of wildland protected zones.

"We don't want to lose any of the hard fought wildland gains that we’ve got on paper here today," said Zeidler.

AWARE's funding request for $20,000 is just one of 20 similar requests from non-profit Whistler organizations that pitched their case to council for grants on Monday night. Collectively they are asking for $257,000. The municipality has budgeted for $245,000.

Formerly called the grant-in-aid program, the municipality changed the name to the Community Enrichment Program this year and asked each non-profit to detail how their request for funding fits in with Whistler 2020, the resort's community sustainability plan.

The Dandelion Daycare, which serves 290 families with another 80 on the waitlist, asked for $40,000 this year, up significantly from its $5,800 request last year.

The money is for two environmentally friendly projects. The daycare is hoping to build recycling sheds on site so that the kids can start to learn about recycling all plastic, glass and paper. They also want to start composting inside the facility.

The money would also go towards a new washer/drier, which would be dedicated to washing cloth diapers and baby wipes.

The Dandelion Daycare currently uses 47,000 diapers each year and more than 17,000 baby wipes.

"Any dent that we can make in that will make a big difference to the landfill," said Diane MacLeod, executive assistant at the daycare, after the meeting.

Just as environmentally compelling as Dandelion's request for funding is the request for more than $6,500 from Steve Milstein for the greenhouse project spearheaded by Whistler Community Services.

The greenhouse project has one year under its belt, in which it provided fresh vegetables to the Food Bank and to more than 30 local families. This year there were so many requests to be a part of the Community Greenhouse project a lottery was held to decide who could take part.

The funds from the Community Enrichment Program would go to buy, among other things, a more durable cover, which will allow them to expand the growing season by two months.

Whistler Community Services is also looking for $17,000 for an Interim Shelter Program, which would provide short-term accommodation for community members.

Last fall the organization helped 20 homeless clients in the fall.

Derek Gagné, chair of the board of directors and who made the presentation to council on Monday night, said they are anticipating this demand will increase with the impending loss of the Shoestring Lodge, a popular budget hostel.

He explained they are looking to partner with a local ski club or a bed and breakfast – any place with up to 14 beds, which isn't being used during the fall influx at a time when many young people come to Whistler unprepared.

The shelter could also be available for local Whistler residents in need, much like a YMCA.

The biggest request for funding came from Profile Whistler, a community television initiative, which takes pertinent issues in the community and creates a TV forum for discussion. Three episodes aired last year.

Profile Whistler is looking for more than $50,000 to produce episodes this year.

The second biggest request was from the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association for more than $24,000, in part for trail maintenance.

Other Whistler non-profits, such as WAG, Whistler Arts Council, MY Place, Whistler Museum and Archives and the Chamber of Commerce, will be considered for funding at a later date. Those organizations are asking for more money.

Council will make its decision about the funding at an upcoming meeting.

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