Sustainability & Environmental Stewardship
The RMOW and residents of Whistler are passionate about their community and strongly recognize that the beautiful natural environment drew most of us here and keeps visitors coming back for more.
Photo Credit: Bob Brett
Once a small town 110 kilometres north of Vancouver, Whistler has transformed into one of the top ski resort destinations in North America. In the mid-1970s, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) was incorporated. At that time, establishing a limit on development (a “bed unit cap” on the number of people staying in Whistler), ensured that current infrastructure, particularly water and sewage treatment, met the demand. Whistler is now approaching that bed unit cap.
The RMOW and residents of Whistler are passionate about their community and strongly recognize that the beautiful natural environment drew most of us here and keeps visitors coming back for more. The integrity of Whistler’s natural environment is closely tied to our success as a community and tourist destination. With this in mind, the RMOW works hard to develop policies, programs and public education to maintain our natural environment.
One consideration is avoiding and mitigating the potential impacts of future large scale developments on undeveloped properties in Whistler, where ecosystems and connectivity corridors remain largely intact and have not been impacted by development.
The RMOW is committed to leading our community’s transition to a healthier built environment and has developed ― “Whistler Green” – a comprehensive set of guidelines and resources for residential construction.
To help guide the RMOW's journey toward a more sustainable future, the Whistler community developed an ambitious vision, process, and planning approach known as Whistler2020.
This vision articulates what Whistler aspires to be, but more importantly it inspires and guides our strategic planning and action development, now and into the future. Through Whistler2020, the community painted a picture of Whistler’s natural environment and our relationship to it in the year 2020:
- Standards of environmental quality in Whistler exceed those in typical communities. The resort is set within a beautiful natural environment with clean air, clean water, extraordinary scenery, and the sense of being close to nature.
- Whistler’s natural environment is one of the community’s greatest amenities and residents and visitors continue to understand the importance of the natural environment to the success of the resort. As a result, community members and visitors act as stewards of the natural environment. An ecologically functioning and viable network of critical natural areas is protected and where possible restored while use of critical natural areas is avoided and use of surrounding areas is limited to ensure ecosystem integrity. Indigenous biodiversity is maintained and the protected natural areas of the corridor include a full spectrum of locally representative ecosystems.
- Continual learning about natural areas and species informs appropriate restoration and protection efforts.
- Backcountry areas are protected from overuse and degradation. Developed and recreation areas are designed and managed to protect as much of the natural environment within and around them as possible.
Many of the above statements are already true or we are working hard to meet them. The RMOW, its citizens and visitors all play an important role in appreciating and protecting our natural environment.