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Whistler2020 on the Ground

Beating the partnership odds

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The first time I walked into the Squamish-Lil'wat Cultural Centre (SLCC), it felt like Whistler was instantly a better, more resilient place for locals, our First Nations partners and guests from around the world.

That certainly was the feeling on July 9 when hundreds of people gathered in and around the SLCC to bear witness to the new signatories to the Whistler2020 Partnership agreements and spend a free afternoon touring the facility and outside exhibits as part of the SLCC's first ever open house.

Welcoming by design, inclusive in ideal and impressive in execution, the massive glass, wood and concrete structure is a physical manifestation of Sea to Sky Country's First Nations' - the Squamish and the Lil'wat - first bona fide partnership. With cultural tourism at the forefront of the growing movement of eco, or responsible tourism, the SLCC also unveiled its new outdoor exhibits and forest walk.

This spring, my three-and-a-half year old son Chance and I participated in a drum-making workshop at the SLCC. Perilously perched on a chair beside Mayor Melamed, Chance could not stop beaming as he pulled, prodded and persuaded a wooden hoop, wet deer hide and cord into a small, but functional-looking hand drum. Under the watchful tutelage of SLCC staff, we were given direction and freedom at the same time. Our drum is there, find it and pound a song of partnership and collaboration.

At the heart of Whistler2020, our communities' shared vision for the future and a process to manage the journey toward it, is partnership. The partnership between the Squamish and Lil'wat, which is manifested in this gorgeous building, is celebrated daily as the massive wooden front doors open and welcome the world. At the ceremony, the SLCC board of directors signed on as the newest members of the Whistler2020 Partnership family. The core of this family was created in 2006 when 14 local businesses, stakeholder groups and organizations signed our partnership poster. Since then, the partnership family has grown to 54. You can see the Whistler2020 partner poster on display in the lobby of Millennium Place.

Over the past year, 12 new Whistler2020 partners have signed agreements committing them to the community's commitment to collaboration and accountability in achieving short and long-term success. The new partners stood proudly beside the leaders at the SLCC, proclaiming their support of Whistler2020 as we work together and demonstrate shared commitments to achieving meaningful results in our journey towards Whistler2020. More specifically, they promote and contribute to:

• Increased access to information and networking opportunities

• Recognition as a community leader

• A formalized commitment from other Partner organizations to work toward Whistler's shared vision of success and sustainability

• Improved partner-to-partner relationships

• Access to Whistler2020 and Whistler Centre for Sustainability tools and resources for improving and expanding our commitment to sustainability

In the five years since Whistler2020 became our community's highest-level policy, the Whistler2020 Partners have proven an integral part of Whistler's shared journey towards continued success and, ultimately, sustainability. Can you feel the beat?

To learn more about how Whistler is managing our journey toward sustainability check out www.whistler2020.ca .

SIDEBAR:

The Whistler2020 Partner Family as of August 2009

Astrid's Fine Foods

AWARE

B.C. Hydro

B.C. Transit

Capilano University

Community Foundation of Whistler

Communities that Care - Whistler

Carney's Waste Systems

Green Table Network

Healthy Communities

Hill Trip

Hostelling International - Whistler

lululemon athletica

LUNA - Late & Unique Nighttime Alternatives

Green Table Network

McDonald's - Whistler / Pemberton

MY Place (Maurice Young Millennium Place)

Mountain Youth Society

Naturally Clean

Nesters Market-Whistler

North Vancouver Outdoor School

Resort Municipality of Whistler

Resort TV

S2S Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA)

School District #48

Slow Food Cycle Sunday

Slow Food Sea to Sky Chapter

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

Terasen Gas

Tourism Whistler

Vancouver Coastal Health

VANOC

The Westin Resort & Spa - Whistler

Whistler 2020 Development Corporation

Whistler Adaptive Sports Program

Whistler Arts Council

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Centre for Sustainability

Whistler Chamber of Commerce

Whistler Community Services Society

Whistler Cooks

Whistler Cycling Committee

Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group

Whistler Film Festival Society

Whistler Forum

Whistler Health Care Foundation

Whistler Housing Authority

Whistler Museum and Archives

Whistler Naturalists

The Whistler Question

Whistler RV Park

WORCA (Whistler Off Road Cycling Association)

Whistler Public Library

Ziptrek Ecotours

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