By Alison Taylor
It won’t be business as usual at municipal hall anymore.
Administrator Bill Barratt has thrown out the staid, traditional model of local government and introduced a revolutionary restructuring of the organization.
The old departments of planning and engineering are now a thing of the past, renamed and refocused to jive with Whistler’s sustainability plan, Whistler 2020.
Like the plan itself, the realignment is breaking new ground
and steering a course for the community in the journey to sustainability.
Mayor Ken Melamed, who along with the rest of council got their first glimpse of the reorganization at the beginning of November in a closed meeting, called it groundbreaking.
“Frankly I’m very impressed with the administrator’s desire to see this realignment structurally in-line with Whistler 2020 because it shows his commitment and gives us a tremendous amount of credibility as an organization about our commitment to the words that are in the plan,” said the mayor.
Barratt presented his plans to more than 150 staff last Thursday at the Delta Village Suites.
He calls the realignment a “cultural shift” at municipal hall.
“I think the key thing is it’s consistent with our current strategy, which is Whistler2020, so it just puts all the focus on the delivery (of that sustainability plan),” said Barratt, who has been quietly working on this project for the past several months with the help of an outside consultant.
The total cost for the staff revamp is $60,000, which will be covered from existing budgets.
Like most municipalities, Whistler’s municipal hall was organized along traditional lines — a department of finance, a department of planning, the engineering and public works department and the department of parks and recreation.
Now, using four of the five key priorities of the Whistler2020 plan — enriching community life, enhancing the resort experience, protecting the environment and ensuring economic viability — Barratt has shifted the focus of the various municipal departments and they have been renamed accordingly. The fifth priority — partnering for success — will overlay all departments at the hall.
Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden called the realignment significant.
“We are doing something really quite radically different by
organizing the hall along the five values of Whistler2020,” she said last week.
“It will have the effect of driving down the plan into the hall but also having the staff at the hall keep Whistler2020 uppermost in their minds.”