Open house draws community to comment on future 

Three days left for input on Whistler’s future

Some had their minds made up before they came, others were swayed by the information before them and the rest were simply overwhelmed with all the possibilities that lie ahead.

But one thing was for certain: everyone at Myrtle Philip Community Centre was talking about Whistler’s future at Saturday’s four-hour open house, whether they all agreed with each other or not.

"I think it’s great that they’re having this open house... to explain all the subtleties that don’t come to the forefront in the workbook," said Anne Strickland, who spends six months of the year at her home in Whistler.

All Whistler residents have been invited to take part in a process called Whistler. It’s Our Future , a planning exercise to determine Whistler’s path for development over the next 20 years.

In a short workbook and questionnaire the community must choose from five possible future scenarios or bring elements from the scenarios to create a brand new blended scenario. Ultimately the process will create the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan, which will guide development in the valley for the next 20 years.

The five futures were on the school walls in graphic detail at the open house, where 250 community members dropped by to learn about the future possibilities.

"I walked away with so much more knowledge," said Cathy Jewett, adding that municipal staff was great with providing explanations without offering their opinions.

Each scenario paints a picture of Whistler in the year 2020.

Some community members, like Lily Antunes, don’t want to see a Whistler that’s drastically different from the one that’s here today.

"We’re trying to raise a young family here and I like the community the way it is," she said.

She has been living here for 12 years and originally came to Whistler to get away from the city. Now her family may consider moving out of Whistler if there is an increase in development.

Though she wanted to get more informed at the open house, she was leaning to a future with little or no growth. That’s the future that’s described in Future 1, where the cap on development would stay at 55,500 bed units and Whistler would reach build out in 2005.

This future isn’t a preferred option for Mick Gannon, another local who has lived in Whistler for the past 17 years.

It is predicted under Future 1 that more than half of Whistler’s employees will be living out of the resort in neighbouring communities by 2020.

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