RMOW website gets a facelift 

The municipality’s website has been revamped for 2005.

The soft launch of www.whistler.ca on New Year’s Day reveals a website that’s easier to navigate and with a fresh new look.

RMOW Information Officer Diana Waltmann said the numerous complaints about the difficulty of finding things on the old site spurred the municipality to do the update.

"That was the major impetus to change," she said.

This the first big change to the website in four years. The new look cost $20,000.

Though it appears to be vastly different, the updated site includes all the information from the old site, just with easier way-finding tools.

There is information about business in the resort for builders, developers and film producers, as well as information about community life from biking to animal control.

Waltmann said more information will be added to the site over time, such as easy access to the most frequently requested municipal bylaws.

One new feature, suggested by the website designers Create Communications, includes an interactive public art project. Local artists and artisans were asked to submit an image of their work. Each piece of work that appears is a snippet of a larger piece. Well-known local names such as Isobel MacLaurin, Vincent Massey and Chili Thom are part of the project.

Another new feature, said Waltmann, is the added freedom for municipal employees to update the site daily.

"In the old site we couldn’t do that, we could only update a few pages," said Waltmann. "Now we can update the entire site ourselves."

The facelift is a far cry from a proposal three years ago that would have seen $1 million spent on a state of the art web portal. The proposed portal would have allowed residents to buy dog licenses online as well as let homeowners pay their property taxes via the web. It would have also given various community groups, who do not have the means to develop their own website, the chance to be a part of the community website.

But a public petition signed by more than 250 names convinced council to drop the $1 million web portal from their budget.

"We still have it on the backburner… It’s still a vision," said Waltmann.

The updated site, which is still a work in progress, can be accessed at www.whistler.ca.

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