Rhodes new AWARE president 

When Stephane Perron announced that he was stepping down as president of AWARE, everyone knew he left some big rubber boots to fill. Nobody appreciated how big until it came down to the election of a new executive at the first meeting of the year on Feb. 1.

After some deliberation and a little nudging Mitch Rhodes accepted the role of president. With a number of energetic new members coming on board, a brighter financial picture and a more focused role in and outside of the community, however, it’s a vastly different pair of rubber boots.

The group is also looking into the possibility of hiring a consultant to help tighten AWARE up from an organizational standpoint and making the member-driven organization more effective.

"I think we’re ready to take it to the next level, and that means being more organized," says Rhodes. "The potential is there."

Inge Flannigan accepted the role as the first vice president, Laurin Boyle became the second VP, Lisa Princic became secretary, and Eckhard Zeidler resumed his position as treasurer.

The various campaign groups made their reports, and a date was set for a strategic planning meeting where members will decide on which campaigns to focus AWARE’s limited resources.

In other AWARE news.

• According to the Natural Step Committee, the Early Adopters of the Natural Step framework for a sustainable community (Tourism Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler One Hour Photo, and AWARE) have moved the roll-out date back to May. The feeling was that March was too early, and as one of Whistler’s busiest months members wouldn’t have enough time to prepare for the roll-out to the community.

• AWARE, with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, is organizing a bus trip to the Lillooet on Feb. 17 for what will likely be the last open forum of the four-year Land Resource Management Plan process. While there is wide land use consensus for a large part of the LRMP area, different parties will be showing their options for the contested areas to the public in order to collect input and influence the government’s final decision. The most contentious areas, such as Spruce Lake, the Southern Chilcotins and the upper Bridge River, are high in both wildlife and recreational values.

• The Olympic Committee is looking for a place to put about 2,700 beds for athletes and staff. The original plan, which would see athletes housed in local hotels, has changed.

• The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has commissioned a study on the viability of centralized composting in the community corridor.

• AWARE’s wetlands committee will be training local wetlands stewards, in conjunction with the Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group.

• AWARE will hold its annual strategic planning session on Feb. 22. Members are invited to come out and vote on the issues they think deserve the most attention. The time and location still have to be finalized.

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