When Bill Brown heads to Beijing this week as part of the Whistler Forum’s Harmony Project, he’ll be taking on a slew of responsibilities, from speechmaking to moderating panel discussions.
There are two key days written into the project’s week-long schedule, the first of which focuses on community planning as it pertains to universal accessibility and the second revolving around community leadership through sustainable tourism development.
“I’m going to talk about initiatives that the Resort Municipality of Whistler is undertaking to improve universal accessibility in the municipality,” said Brown, who works in community planning for the RMOW. “We’re not a supermodel community of universal access, but we are trying to become one.”
As proof, Brown points to initiatives in the athletes’ village, as well as programs like new curb cuts and universal pedestrian crossing lights the municipality is starting to install.
“The other thing is we’re trying to become a centre for accessible tourism. I went down to Winter Park, Colorado, which is the American centre for disabled sports training. We want to become the Canadian centre for Canadian sports training, not only at the league level, but for the young child who wants to try kayaking or skiing to the elite athlete. We see that as a unique market, and, with the Paralympics, we’ll have new facilities.”
After speaking on that subject, Brown will take over as moderator for a dialogue session on universal access.
On day two, he’ll be presenting Whistler 2020 to a Chinese audience.
“There’ll be our vision and goals, and how we went about creating Whistler 2020,” he said, “and how we implement it in our day-to-day practice, particularly from a planning perspective.”
The body of that talk will include descriptions of success. Whenever the planning department takes a recommendation to council, it includes a description of success in its report. That description explains how a given initiative moves Whistler closer to the 2020 vision — if, in fact, it does.
And then he’ll be assisting Greg McDonnell, executive director of the Whistler Community Services Society, with his presentation on cyclical economies.
“I’m going to focus on our new composter and how we’re trying to reduce our waste as much as possible. So I will talk primarily about turning sewage into compost.”
The Harmony Project begins Sept. 6, when over 20 people from the Sea to Sky corridor strike out for Beijing, where they’ll spend a week building relationships with individuals and organizations from the Middle Kingdom.