Sustainability youth nights planned at local pub 

Phase One of Whistler. It’s Our Future forges ahead

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly remembers living in Whistler as a young ski patroller whose sole focus was skiing. Back then the idea of imaging a Whistler 20 years down the road never entered his mind.

"Beyond thinking two weeks ahead, I didn’t really get engaged in the community," he said.

So he knows the challenges of getting feedback from Whistler’s twenty-something’s into the future of this resort.

"It’s hard to get them to stop and think that this might be their home in 10 years," he said.

Still, their concerns are an essential part of the discussions in Whistler. It’s Our Future – the community platform that will eventually provide Whistler with a Comprehensive Sustainability Plan aimed at tacking environmental, economic and social sustainability for the resort.

For two consecutive nights, on Aug. 27 and 28, the Whistler. It’s Our Future consultants will host youth evenings at the Dubh Linn Gate pub to get that distinct age category’s unique perspective into the discussions on sustainability.

Any resident between the ages of 19 and 26 is invited to take part in one of the two-hour discussions starting at 7 p.m.

To get the tongues wagging, there will be beer and appetizers for participants.

From the initial work done by the consultants concerns from this age group range from affordability and housing to employment and transportation.

Indicators also show that Whistler’s youth are concerned about the cultural side of the town with things like music and theatre.

Other major concerns are the environment and overdeveloping the mountains.

While these same concerns are echoed among their elder counterparts, the 19 to 26 age group can provide their own unique point of view.

"They can help us relate to what the experience is here for them today. They are the base of the resort," said O’Reilly.

"We’re trying to interpret what they need."

And it doesn’t matter if they are planning to live in Whistler for the rest of their lives or if they are simply here for one season because the sustainability plan will need to take into account workers and residents in both situations.

If the open discussion format of the pub night, like the two community workshops before it, does not appeal to some, there are also @home and @work discussion kits available for more intimate discussions among friends and colleagues.

The kits can be picked up at the Resource Centre at 106-4339 Main Street or ordered online at www.whistlerfuture.com.

O’Reilly said: "just grab your 10 best mountain biking friends," obtain a kit and start off a discussion and try to make a difference.

The kits include background information, tips for setting up the discussion groups and facilitating the discussion, as well as some sample questions to get things underway.

For those who participated in the July workshops the kits can be used as a way to explore topics in more depth.

For those who were not at the workshops the kits can be a way to get your voice heard.

There will be a binder with the feedback forms on hand at the Resource Centre as a public record.

Consultants are aiming to have the forms in their hands before the next community workshop, which will take place on the weekend of Sept. 21-22.

The community consultation phase, or Phase One of the Whistler. It’s Our Future initiative, is slated to end by November, at which time the consultants will analyze community opinions from the workshops and the online, @home and @work discussions. This information will go towards developing different scenarios to tackle sustainability in Whistler.

Ultimately a preferred scenario will be chosen which will then be implemented.

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