The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) gave out $155,502 in grants through its Community Enrichment Program (CEP) in 2015, including $21,500 to the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association for trail maintenance and $10,000 each to the Sea to Sky Community Services Society for their Parent Tot Drop in Program and the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP) for its bursary program.
"We provided bursaries to 14 individuals this past year," WASP's executive director Chelsea Walker told council in her CEP report-back at the Jan. 12 council meeting.
"Most of those individuals are children, youth and young adults with cognitive disabilities."
All told, 29 local non-profits received funding through the CEP in 2015.
Having recipients report back on the benefits of the grants and how they're being used is a relatively new addition to the program, but an enlightening one, said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
"I thought it was very informative to read, first of all, what they did with the grants, and secondly, how important these grants are, even though they're not for the most part very much money at all," the mayor said.
"They are very important to these individual organizations, so I thought it was very worthwhile to receive these reports back."
Grant application forms and information related to the CEP for 2016 will be available at www.whistler.ca/business/grants-funding/community-enrichment-program on February 1.
BOARD OF VARIANCE APPLICATION FEES GOING UP
The RMOW is increasing fees associated with Board of Variance (BOV) applications from $340 to $800.
At the Jan. 12 meeting, council gave first three readings to an updated version of its BOV bylaw. The update has been in the works since 2013.
The proposed fee increase reflects the average cost of processing an application, which includes administrative and legislative matters and the notification of neighbours, Wilhelm-Morden said.
"These are time-consuming matters, and this fee reflects the average amount of staff time that's required for each," she said, noting that under the previous fee structure the RMOW was actually losing money.
"And keep in mind that we don't make money from these things. The Local Government Act prohibits us from charging more than what the staff time on average is."
The RMOW estimates processing each application takes about 14.5 hours of staff time.
In 2014, the RMOW received 21 new BOV applications.
Along with the increase to application fees, the updated bylaw aims to provide clearer instructions for applicants, requirements for notification signs to be posted on properties applying for variances and to increase the BOV from three members to five.
The essential component of an application to the BOV is that the property owner believes they will suffer some kind of hardship if they are not granted the variance.
The RMOW has provided a flow chart for property owners to decide if the BOV process is right for them at www.whistler.ca/business/land-use-and-development/planning/application-types-and-forms/bylaw-variances.
PRIDE WEEK, VARIETY WEEK DECLARED
With the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival set to return to the resort on Jan 23 to 31, council officially declared the week as "Pride Week" in Whistler at its Jan. 12 meeting.
Coun. John Grills pointed out that the fest is coming up on a milestone year.
"Next year will be their 25th anniversary, so maybe we should have some discussions with them this year and see if there's anything special they want to do," he said.
"Absolutely," the mayor agreed. "It's one of our longest-standing facilities."
At the same meeting, council also proclaimed the week of Feb. 8 to 14 as "Variety Week," in honour of the 50th anniversary of Variety's Show of Hearts Telethon, which supports children with special needs.
This year's telethon takes place Feb. 13 and 14.