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Greens interested in Whistler’s Natural Step

Mayor says he’ll spread the sustainability news to anyone



Whistler has been a stronghold for the provincial Liberals in the last decade but if a recent visit from the Green Party’s Vancouver Point Grey candidate is any gauge the political landscape here could become much greener.

Damian Kettlewell was one of the first B.C. Green Party candidates nominated to run in the provincial election on May 17 and he came to Whistler last week to speak with Mayor Hugh O’Reilly and learn more about Whistler’s Natural Step approach to sustainability.

The visit came from a representative of a different riding who pledged to spread the word about what Whistler has done to transform the Natural Step process into a practical approach to sustainability. Vancouver Point Grey is the riding Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell represents.

The Green Party will select a candidate in West Vancouver-Garibaldi, around the end of March.

"We’re here to learn more about Whistler’s move to the Natural Step and trying to figure out ways upon which we can promote this through B.C.," Kettlewell said.

"The mayor is a leader in Canada and around the world in helping implement the Natural Step and we see that as a critical move towards a sustainable future."

Kettlewell and his media liaison, Jean Michel Toriel, have both lived and skied in Whistler and say many of their ideas were formed here.

"I can tell you that the Green Party is the only major party that acknowledges that there’s a limit to economic growth," said Kettlewell. "And we’re here to learn about Whistler’s success and to see if we can share that success with people in our riding of Vancouver Point Grey and with the Green Party and the people in B.C."

O’Reilly said he was prepared to spread the news about Whistler’s adoption of the Natural Step regardless of what political stripe people wanted to wear.

"Any time I can promote our sustainability plan I do," said O’Reilly. "I have the good fortune of being able to go across North America and talk about it so today again we were sharing how our framework was working and the successes we’re having right now.

"After three years of putting the plan in place it’s really got some legs and it’s got some incredible momentum and I think we’re going to see some tremendous output in the near future.

"What people are really interested in is not the fact that we’ve adopted it, it’s the fact that we’ve taken the theoretical and put it in to practical application, and I think that’s what people needed to see.

"I don’t care what your political stripe is, as far as I’m concerned if you consume something or produce something then you’re in the sustainability game and that’s virtually everybody."