The power of the plan 

Whistler2020 plan hits the web

By Alison Taylor

Twenty-five organizations, both large and small, have committed to Whistler’s sustainability vision and actions for the future.

The partners were on hand Monday night to sign the partnership agreement with the Resort Municipality of Whistler, reaffirming their promise to work together to achieve the community’s goals.

They include local organizations such as the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, Tourism Whistler and Whistler-Blackcomb, as well as corporate partners such as the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and Terasen.

This year also saw new organizations join the plan, including, BC Hydro, Carney’s and Ziptrek Ecotours.

Mayor Ken Melamed thanked the partners for attending as he presented each with a framed certificate.

“It is so alive in what we do here in Whistler,” he said.

“We’re very, very proud of it.”

It’s called Whistler2020.

This week a new website, created by a UK company, ( www.whistler2020.ca ) was launched to keep community members informed and publicly measure Whistler’s success on its path to sustainability.

At Monday’s meeting staff presented council with an update of the 2006 actions from the plan.

Hundreds of community members participated in 16 different task forces and spent hours brainstorming together to create the actions.

Melamed noted how far down the path in participatory democracy Whistler has gone with the involvement of so many community members doing the job that was once reserved for council and staff.

Of the 117 actions accepted by the RMOW and its partners, more than 70 per cent are completed or on the way to completion.

These include:

• developing a sledding/tubing facility in the resort;

• developing a ‘re-use-it’ building materials facility, and,

• developing and implementing a comprehensive action plan to improve guest service.

And   a few actions have dropped off the work plan or been pushed to next year for various reasons including:

• exploring financial incentives for local grocery stores to keep a basic basket of food items comparable in price to the Lower Mainland benchmark;

• improving way-finding signage from the Vancouver Airport to Whistler, and

• expanding the Community Greenhouse program to more people and a longer growing season.

The website also includes a critical monitoring component of Whistler 2020 to gauge the community’s success or failure as it strives to its sustainability goals. It is quantitative and qualitative information related to the economic, social and environmental aspects of the community.

Though the municipality has been involved in a community monitoring program since 1993, this year the program has been realigned to fit Whistler 2020.

The data collected this year relies on traditional sources such as Tourism Whistler but also the Whistler Community Survey, conducted by the Mustel Group, primarily though phone interviews in early January. In addition, the Whistler Affordability Study, completed this year, also provided information.

Staff related key highlights in the monitoring report this year. They are:

• satisfaction with Whistler as a place to live is very high,

• 76 per cent of the workforce lives within municipal boundaries,

• Whistler has a range of demographic groups living in financially stressed situations, particularly single, seasonal residents and two-parent/two-child families (59 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.)

Some of the next steps in the process are to set targets for Whistler as a definitive way of measuring success.

For more information go to www.whistler2020.ca.

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