Whistler searching for new climate coordinator 

Council briefs: Lift station contract awarded; Bayshores LUC termination heads to public hearing

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - Maximilian Kniewasser, the Resort Municipality of Whistler's former climate change coordinator, presents to council on July 23, 2019. The municipality is searching for a new climate coordinator following Kniewasser's resignation last month.
  • File photo by Braden Dupuis
  • Maximilian Kniewasser, the Resort Municipality of Whistler's former climate change coordinator, presents to council on July 23, 2019. The municipality is searching for a new climate coordinator following Kniewasser's resignation last month.

The search for a new climate change coordinator is on at Whistler's municipal hall following the resignation of Max Kniewasser last month.

Kniewasser—who joined the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) for the newly created role in June 2019—resigned due to family reasons, a municipal spokesperson said.

A posting for the position closed on March 8, and applications are currently under review.

For Councillor Arthur De Jong, who oversees Whistler's environment portfolio, climate change is "by far the most important position on my file," he said, and the RMOW committing to filling the position during a COVID-19 hiring freeze is a win.

"We need a role at town hall that is entirely focused on moving the Community Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) forward. That's the playbook for that role," De Jong said.

"And otherwise I feel like we have a playbook without a quarterback, and I'm part of the coaching staff, and I'm looking out in the field and the most important position is vacated. Our scoreboard is not going to go well."

Adopted in 2016, Whistler's CECAP lays out 134 specific actions to address greenhouse gas emissions in the community.

In an update on Nov. 5, 2019, council heard that of 94 actions in the "Mitigation" section, which mostly comprises energy and emission goals, 42 were in progress, 18 were considered continual, ongoing efforts, five were completed, and 29 had not been initiated.

Of the 40 actions listed in the "Adaptation" section, which includes minimizing the threat of wildfire, traffic congestion, and ensuring an adequate water supply, two were in progress, 10 were ongoing, and 27 had not been initiated.

While municipal officials have their hands full with the COVID-19 crisis, "we need to integrate every possible action with a climate lens as we work through COVID," De Jong said.

"So having that person on staff now is I think as imperative as it always is."

While CECAP priorities will be guided by the new climate coordinator, De Jong pointed out that passenger vehicles and buildings continue to be the largest emitters locally.

"We need to stay focused on that," he said.

"We need to focus on where the biggest emissions are, but obviously within that, what's most doable in the short- and mid-term to make a difference."

Find the full CECAP and other resources at whistler.ca/climateaction.

LIFT STATION UPGRADE CONTRACT AWARDED; BAYSHORES LUC TERMINATION HEADS TO PUBLIC HEARING

A sewer lift station on Crabapple Drive is set for an upgrade after council awarded a contract for the project at its May 5 meeting.

The $696,980 contract was awarded to Vancouver-based Luxton Construction, and work on the station includes replacing the wet well (with a hydrogen sulfide resistant liner) and mechanical and electrical components.

The new liner has a lifespan of anywhere from 30 to 50 years.

Work is set to start in early June and end on Aug. 31.

Residents in the area can expect some noise during construction, as pumps will be needed to divert sewage from the station as the liner is replaced.

Meanwhile, council also gave first and second readings to a bylaw that will terminate the Land Use Contract (LUC) in Bayshores at its May 5 meeting.

With all LUCs in B.C. set to expire in 2024, municipalities are required to replace them with zoning before June 30, 2022.

The RMOW is proposing to zone the lands residential multiple 70 (RM70), which aligns with the regulations set out in the LUC, as well as applicable permits and covenants for each strata lot.

A (virtual) public hearing will follow.

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