Who ever said an open house for an Official Community Plan can't draw a crowd?
The Resort Municipality of Whistler seemingly bucks that trend, with 130 people showing up for an open house to solicit community feedback last Thursday night in the Mount Currie Ballroom at the Hilton Whistler Resort.
Kevin Damaskie, a sustainability coordinator with the municipality that among 10 first draft policy directions presented for public comment, transportation and infrastructure figured as the most prominent ones.
"In general, people are happy that Whistler has a functional transit system," he said. "They would be happier if it met people's needs more often."
In the first draft of the "Transportation and Infrastructure" policy, authors state that the Whistler community seeks to be a "leader in sustainable transportation and infrastructure" in support of priorities and strategies under Whistler2020. Residents also want to ensure that such initiatives are within the municipality's ability to pay for them.
Preferred modes of transportation include walking, cycling and transit, as well as vehicle traffic in a way that supports "economic viability, environmental protection and community livability."
As Damaskie tells it, Whistler is coming to grips with the fact it has a "car problem."
"It's significant (that) over 50 per cent of emissions created per annum are directly tailpipe-related, so mobile sources of emissions," he said. "That's not people flying here from Timbuktu, that's Joe Emerald driving to get a quart of milk.
"If we are going to meet our provincially-regulated government direction to have substantive reductions in greenhouse gases, we've got to come to grips with the fact that our transportation system is part of that solution, but we need to use it, support it and understand how it works, in order to see substantive emission reductions in mobile sources."
Other draft policies presented at the open house include land use and development, residential and visitor accommodation, growth management and resource extraction.
People wanting to comment on the policies can download them from www.whistler2010.com and send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no deadline for feedback but if you want your comments considered at the Whistler Council Official Community Plan workshop on April 19, participants are asked to e-mail them before April 18.