An exercise to get more public involvement in the Whistler 2020 strategy was a success, according Kevin Damaskie, who organized the first Apres in Action planning session on Saturday afternoon. More than 100 people took part, presenting 30 different action items on topics like cost of living, trash, and resort operations after Whistler reaches buildout.
Most of those action items will be explored by the relevant Whistler 2020 task forces, and incorporated into those task forces’ “to do” lists for 2009.
“For example, one of the groups discussing the cost of living came up with an idea to create a food and bulk goods co-op. That action will be referred to the Whistler 2020 food task force for review, and the resident affordability task force,” said Damaskie. “All of the input from Apres in Action will be sent to the task forces, that are in the middle of action planning for 2009… and they will find a lead organization to recommend that action to and take it on.
“In the case of a food co-op that would most likely be an NGO (non-governmental organization) like the Whistler Community Services Society, and they would need partners to support that as well as some advice from someone with retail or wholesale experience. If it’s feasible, the task force’s job will be to bring all these partners together to launch a co-op.”
According to Damaskie, Whistler 2020 has accepted more than three quarters of all action items that have been recommended by task forces, and task forces have complete more than two thirds of those items over the past four years.
“Things are getting done,” he said. “There are updates and progress reports twice a year on the Whistler 2020 website (www.whistler2020.ca), and anybody who wants to see the sheer volume of actions, and scope of actions executed by Whistler 2020 can visit the website and check the action browser. It’s amazing what can happen when the community wraps its head around a single idea, with a view of being successful and sustainable. It’s empowering for the people on these task forces.”
Damaskie says one of the biggest misconceptions about Whistler 2020 is that it’s a municipal program. He says that the municipality has provided staff and funding to the organization, but the Resort Municipality of Whistler is only one of 38 partners in the Whistler 2020 organization. From the beginning, Whistler 2020 has been about public participation in planning, and working with different organizations to put action items into practice.
Damaskie says the goal is to make Apres in Action an annual event, and to show the people who participate how their action items are becoming a reality. Once people see their ideas coming to life, he is confident that more locals will become involved in the process and with Whistler 2020 task forces.
“Everybody who calls themselves a Whistlerite is being given an open, honest and real opportunity to collaborate on and plan actions through 2020,” he said. “Whistler 2020 is really just the tool in the process — the energy to make it work is completely and utterly in the hands of the people in the community.”