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Whistler2020 on the Ground

Engaging in Whistler’s exceptional normal

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By Jack Crompton
Whistler2020 Task Force Member

Great Canadian Bruce Cockburn penned "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse." It is good to live in a place that daily subverts this sage's insight as Whistler's "normal" is, by most standards, exceptional.

Last fall was a huge transition time for our family. You'll remember, with a certain amount of disinterest (according to the number of people that voted), the federal and municipal elections were right on top of each other. As is customary during election season the papers were full of our frustrations with federal, provincial and municipal overspending, under spending, mismanagement and over management.

Carolyn and I had just sold a business that had taken the majority of our focus for five years. We were eager to put some of our newfound time and energy into serving the town in which we're raising our children. Being a bit of a municipal political junkie, I decided to take four months and research whether or not municipal council was where I wanted to contribute. I went to council meetings, read every council package I could get my hands on and spoke with as many people as I could. I came away from that process with a desire to be a part of the solution and I decided to throw my hat in the ring (a term with which I was previously unfamiliar).

Although I was not elected for a seat on council, the campaign was really gratifying. It was campaign preparation that was most enlightening for me. Some of my perceptions of our community were correct and some were wrong. Easily, my biggest misconception was that Whistler provides few if any opportunities for positive community engagement. It wasn't until I sat in four months of empty (and I mean EMPTY) council meetings and planning sessions that I realized my error. It became very clear that if a person (any person) wanted to be a part of the process and discussion there were many ways and means.

Whistler2020 is a community built vision, plan and process to act collectively in support of that vision. For two years I have been a member of the Whistler2020 Transportation task force and have seen ideas become action through grassroots energy. These actions are then implemented on the ground by Whistler2020 Partners and Lead Organizations. At the RMOW, Whistler2020 guides our council and staff as they make short- and long-term decisions that will take us to where we want to be in the future. Stakeholders from all sectors provide direction, insight and support in implementing Whistler2020. Regardless of whether or not I agree with every Whistler2020 action item, it is meaningfully engaging our community in support of our common vision through action.

Since Whistler2020 task forces started developing actions designed to deliver progress toward our Whistler2020 vision, 607 actions have been recommended for execution in the community (see chart). With 489 actions accepted, Whistler2020 enables our community to get important things done. For example, the work taking the grade out of Nordic Hill and creating preferred transportation space for walkers and bikers on the shoulder of Highway 99 as it gets upgraded are clearly supportive of Whistler2020 community priorities, strategies and actions recommended by the Transportation task force.

Whistler2020 is your voice, use it. If you've got ideas that can make Whistler better: show up at council meetings, ask questions, write letters, consider sitting on a community board or advisory panel - get involved with a Whistler2020 community task force. When we whine about issues that we have the capacity and opportunity to change we make the snow melt. I like to think of myself as a straight shooter so here are the goods... stop whining and get stuck in.

To join a Whistler2020 community task force email kdamaskie@whistler.ca or click on Whistler2020.ca.

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