Whistler Action Day kicks off summer sustainability challenge 

Event takes place today in Olympic plaza at 3 p.m.; annual Pitch-In day roadside cleanup returns on Saturday, May 4

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CLARE OGILVIE - Volunteers can help clean up Whistler's roads during this year's Pitch-In Day, set to take place on Saturday, May 4.
  • Photo by Clare Ogilvie
  • Volunteers can help clean up Whistler's roads during this year's Pitch-In Day, set to take place on Saturday, May 4.

Looking for ways to decrease your carbon footprint this summer?

Consider participating in the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) upcoming 'Maytober Transportation Challenge.'

The challenge kicks off with "Whistler Action Day," set to take place today, May 1, with a pop-up open house at Whistler Olympic Plaza from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will highlight lower carbon transportation options and programs in Whistler.

The challenge calls on Whistlerites to switch out one private passenger vehicle trip each week for a lower carbon transportation choice—like walking, public transit, biking or carpooling—from May until October, in an effort to reduce the community's carbon footprint.

According to a RMOW release, emissions from private passenger vehicle trips within Whistler currently make up 57 per cent of Whistler's carbon footprint.

"Climate change is a global issue that we take very seriously in Whistler," said Councillor Arthur De Jong in the release.

"We want to encourage community members to make a change that will have a real impact on what we can do to reduce our community's carbon footprint. We hope that by focusing on how one small step can achieve real results, residents will adopt these changes all year. If each person who owns a car in Whistler made one less trip by vehicle each week throughout the year, we could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions even more."

As a signatory of the BC Climate Action Charter., the RMOW has committed to a 33 per cent reduction in community-wide GHG emissions by 2020; 80 per cent by 2050 and 90 per cent by 2060. Although Whistler has delivered a 17 per cent reduction in GHG emissions since 2007, the resort must continue to cut an additional 3,000 – 4,000 tonnes of GHG emissions each year until 2020 to meet its target.

"At current emission rates, that will not happen," read the release.

In addition to Whistler's public transportation system — which includes free travel for kids riding with a paying adult every day, as well as free transit on weekends and holidays from June 28 to September 3 for the third year in a row — Whistler's Valley Trail offers 40 kilometres of paved, car-free travelling.

Bikers are encouraged to take advantage of the secure bike parking available underneath Whistler Public Library as well as the bike valet service at some Village events and the Whistler Farmer's Market throughout the summer.

More information about lower carbon transportation options in Whistler can be found at www.whistler.ca/maytober.

On Saturday, May 4, the RMOW is also hosting its annual Pitch-In Day, set to take place from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Volunteers can organize a pitch-in crew or join the roadside cleanup efforts on their own. Free Pitch-In waste bags and gloves will be available for pick up from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Whistler Public Works Yards located at 8020 Nesters Road.

Volunteers will clear litter throughout the community, while roads staff will be responsible for removing the yellow litter bags and sorting recycling.

According to the municipality, "Volunteers will focus on the subdivision roads since Highway 99's ditches are cleared later in the spring by Miller Capilano Maintenance."

Removing litter from local roadways is one important way residents can help protect Whistler's natural habitats from toxins. If left in ditches, garbage can easily be blown or washed into creeks, forests, and other sensitive areas.


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