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Community to decide on Whistler’s future

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Three weeks for feedback, input on CSP workbook

If you want a say in Whistler’s future you’ll have to speak up now or forever hold your peace.

The long-awaited workbooks, designed to carve Whistler’s future to the year 2020, have arrived. They go online on Monday, Nov. 3. Printed versions will be available by Friday, Nov. 7.

Everyone is being asked to add his or her two cents to Whistler. It’s Our Future.

The program was launched 16 months ago with an ultimate goal of creating a vision for Whistler’s future.

It was to be a vision produced not by bureaucrats but by the collective will of the community. From this exercise the Community Sustainability Plan will be created.

The workbooks outline five different futures that are up for grabs. For example one future has Whistler on a path with no new development beyond what has already been planned in the current Official Community Plan. Another future has Whistler on a path of diversified its economy and open to new developments.

It’s up to the people of Whistler to figure out their town’s best future and ultimately come up with the CSP together.

"We just want to get the community engaged in telling us the elements that are important for them," said Councillor Marianne Wade, who was happy the workbooks are ready for public feedback.

Municipal Information Officer Diana Waltmann said one future scenario in the workbook might not even be the choice in the end. The community may choose a "blended future" bringing in elements from different scenarios to find a future Whistler they like best.

Through this process the community will also choose the future site of the athlete’s village for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee is awaiting Whistler’s decision as the community works through the CSP process.

The decision on the athlete’s village, among others, will be a driving force in getting Whistler. It’s Our Future completed and rewritten as the Community Sustainability Plan.

"In a year from now we have commitments that we have to deal with," said Wade.

"One is the IOC and the commitments to them.

"There are very serious timelines that have to be met. As a council we’re concerned about making those commitments and getting on with it."

Wade explained there was a delay in getting the workbooks out to the public because former municipal employee Mike Vance was recently hired for the post of general manager of community initiatives and directly responsible for the CSP process.

"Unfortunately we had a little bit of a delay there but it was very important that Mike Vance be involved with it and put his feedback into it," she said.

Whistlerites will now have three weeks to get involved in the feedback process.

There will be two documents to go through. One is a lengthy workbook outlining the five scenarios and how the Natural Step Framework fits in. This was then condensed into a 16-page user-friendly workbook with an interactive questionnaire.

The workbook highlights the major differences between the futures and poses some fundamental questions about the limits of development and future directions.

The feedback must be into municipal hall by Monday, Nov. 24. After that date the next phase of Whistler. It’s Our Future will be for staff to condense the community feedback and turn it into a preferred future. This will then be brought back to the community for more input before council ultimately adopts the CSP.

Vance will make a presentation about the CSP process at the next council meeting on Monday, Nov. 3.

Get the workbook online at www.whistlerfuture.com that same day. Or wait for the printed versions at the Whistler Pubic Library, the Meadow Park Sports Centre, all three schools and municipal hall. The questionnaire can be faxed back, mailed, or dropped off.

There will also be an open house on the five futures scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 15 at Myrtle Philip Community School.

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