Whistler will ‘cherry pick’ CSP consultants 

GBH firm calls council untrustworthy

A new process for Whistler’s Comprehensive Sustainability Plan, which involves "cherry picking" consultants, was approved by council Monday.

But a letter from the principles of the firm that was the popular choice of Whistler residents, and was staff’s recommendation to get the $500,000 sustainability plan contract, calls the municipality discourteous, untrustworthy, disrespectful and a host of other names for the way it has handled the whole process.

GBH Consultants was the popular choice of the 122 members of the public who endured a four and a half hour session Feb. 2 in which four consulting teams presented their proposals for the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan.

Municipal staff also recommended GBH be awarded the contract, providing the firm bring in at least two additional consultants to their team with expertise in resort economics and planning.

However, at least two members of council favoured the presentation by the Centre for Resource Management team, and two more council members were not satisfied with any of the four consulting teams.

As a result, the whole CSP process has been revamped.

"My feeling is if we had started out of the blocks with as many people divided as there were, the whole process would have been in jeopardy," Mike Purcell, general manager of planning and development services told council Monday.

"We want to make as much of the community comfortable (with the process) as possible."

The new approach, approved by a 5-1 vote Monday, will see the plan developed through a process that utilizes the expertise of the various members of the GBH and Centre for Resource Management teams, as well as other experts from outside the two teams.

The municipality paid each of the four consulting teams $10,000 and retains ownership of all intellectual materials presented by the consulting firms.

Purcell wrote in his report to council that "the process of developing the plan is more important than the plan itself."

The first phase of the plan, expected to take up to three and a half months, will involve drafting two discussion papers. The first paper, which will address the characteristics of a successful destination resort community in the Whistler context, will be prepared by Rebecca Zimmermann of Design Workshop. Ford Frick of BBC Consultants, Brent Harley of Brent Harley and Associates, and Shelagh Huston of Oikonomia Consulting, will also be involved.

Information from the first paper will be fed into the second paper, which will attempt to define sustainability in the context of Whistler. Warren Flint of Five E’s Unlimited will prepare the second paper. Frick and Nicholas Sonnata of CH2M Hill Canada, will also be involved.

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