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Ice rink, tubing park part of Whistler’s future?

Community gets chance to comment at weekend open houses

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Whistler. Here is your future.

After more than three years at the drawing board, the community will finally get a glimpse of what it may look like 15 years from now.

The 16 strategies of Whistler 2020, once known as the Community Sustainability Plan, are now ready in draft form.

Everyone is invited to take a look, give feedback and think about the future at two upcoming municipal open houses.

There is something to interest almost everyone as the 16 strategies range from transportation and the economy to arts and culture, recreation and leisure, transportation and energy.

A closer look at the recreation and leisure strategy reveals that by 2020 Whistler will have a diversity of offerings where residents of all ages can participate in active and healthy lifestyles. The opportunities will have value for residents and guests, they will be innovative and of good quality, and user conflicts will be dealt with by finding creative solutions.

The task force, which was made up of several community members, came up with a number of actions to help Whistler achieve those goals. Task force member, and soccer coach Bob Calladine said one of the goals was to focus on family offerings.

"We were trying to get a lot more family orientation into stuff for both the locals and the visitors," said Calladine, who was representing sports teams on the task force.

To that end the 2006 actions include exploring the creation of an outdoor seasonal ice rink in Whistler which would be central to visitors, as well as developing a sledding/tubing facility.

Another action is to accelerate the development of an outdoor amphitheatre for live music events.

For task force member Donna Savage, who was representing seniors at the table, the discussion highlighted a number of key points. One in particular was the need to let people know about the amazing trails in Whistler that can be accessed by visitors and locals alike. Not everyone is aware of them, she said.

"The visitors don’t necessarily have access to good information about what exists that’s free," said Savage.

One of the group’s recommendations is to develop and install 40 new Valley Trail maps to replace the existing outdated versions. The following year they recommended that a Whistler hiking and biking trail information package is developed.

The whole exercise she said was a tremendous learning experience for her.

"It opened my eyes to the possibilities of what could happen," she said.

Calladine, however, said he got a little frustrated over time as he worked on the task force over a period of several months.

He said the actions are going to take a lot of money.

"When it really comes down to it, to be sustainable we need money," he said. "It really is a balancing act."

The community must decide what priorities should move forward and what should be put on the backburner.

In order for many of the actions to move forward, the municipality needs community partners to take the lead role on certain recommendations.

Formalized partnerships have been established with key community stakeholders. All have bought in to the vision established in Whistler 2020.

To look into Whistler’s future, don’t miss out on the chance to review the strategies.

The open houses will take place on Friday, June 24 from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Head to the Emerald Ballroom at the Westin Resort & Spa.

For a preview of the strategies check out www.whistler.ca . Go to Toward Sustainability/Whistler 2020.

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