The big work on wayfinding and Cultural Connector begins in 2016 

Municipal budget proposes $1.09 million for Wayfinding and $600,000 for Cultural Connector

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The path to achieving Whistler's Cultural Connector and Wayfinding goals is to become wider and permanent in 2016, thanks to this year's proposed municipal budget.

The 2016 budget for the Wayfinding project is just over $1.09 million. It is one of several initiatives listed under the Village Square and Mall Rejuvenation-Wayfinding Project, which has a total budget of $1.68 million to be spent in 2016 and half in 2017.

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said construction on the new Wayfinding program begins in April.

"As far as the Wayfinding project is concerned, we completed (the strategy study) in 2014, and 2015 was spent doing design and more consulting. Now, for 2016, the fabrication and the installation of the series of pedestrian and parking-areas signage is going to occur in and around the village," Wilhelm-Morden said.

The mayor was unsure about future expenditure for this in 2017.

Initially, the Cultural Connector came about because of the need to connect the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) with the newly opened Audain Art Museum.

The Cultural Connector project celebrates Whistler's emergence as a cultural destination and serves to improve the physical, visual, experiential connectivity between cultural locations in the resort.

"With the Cultural Connector, it really came about hand in hand with the construction of the Audain Art Museum and the fact that we wanted to have this linkage with our six significant cultural institutions (SLCC, Lost Lake PassivHaus, Whistler Museum, Whistler Public Library and the Maury Young Arts Centre)," she said.

Physical connection between the locations on one path will make access easier by both locals and visitors.

The planning and design work for the project started in 2014, with implementation starting in 2015.

"We are doing additional work in 2016, with $600,000 identified for the work we are doing this year," said Wilhelm-Morden.

"And then there will be additional initiatives in 2017, which we'll start planning for this fall."

Later plans could include connecting the Upper Village Stroll and the Chateau Boulevard, making it part of the Cultural Connector, a new valley trail between the Audain Art Museum and the skate park, and a relocation of the SLCC kiosk, currently located near the health centre helipad on Blackcomb Way.

Costs are covered by Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funding, said Wilhelm-Morden.

She added that a Cultural Connector brochure was currently being completed and part of the funding for this comes from the federal government's Heritage Canada grant, recently announced by the Whistler Arts Council.

In terms of other renaming and rebranding, $35,000 was also added to the proposed budget for the replacement of the signage at the recently renamed Maury Young Arts Centre, previously known as Millennium Place.

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