Council Roundup from Tuesday, April 23, 2024 

Publication Date: April 30, 2024

Mayor and Council hear concept for Canada Day celebrations; neighbourhood study reimagines Lake Placid Road

Looking to get caught up on the Tuesday, April 23 Council Meetings? We’ve pulled together some key stories from Committee of the Whole and the Regular Council Meeting, including: 

  • Canada Day concept for “People’s Parade” comes before Council 
  • Lake Placid Road Neighbourhood Study imagines what high-density housing could look like in Creekside  
  • Report highlights Zero Waste Action Plan progress—and opportunities to decrease Whistler’s landfill waste 
  • Council approves $180,504 in Community Enrichment Program (CEP) grant funding  

For all the details, check out the recording of the full meetings on

Aerialists perform during the People’s Parade in 2023. Photo: Oisin McHugh 

How will Whistler celebrate Canada Day this year?

Committee of the Whole hears concept for 2024 celebrations—and discusses whether the festivities should include a parade  

July 1 is approaching and Whistler’s Canada Day celebration is beginning to take shape—though the final form remains a discussion.  
As we returned to public events post-pandemic, the RMOW replaced its traditional parade with an all-day calendar of activations to bolster local business recovery, while supporting the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre’s programming.  

Mayor Jack Crompton and Wilson Williams of the Squamish Nation at a talk called “Rethinking Canada Day” hosted at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre on July 1, 2023.  

This Village festival and ‘people’s parade’ approach was very successful in its first two years, thus plans for more animation and live entertainment are underway for 2024 with community yoga classes and a pancake breakfast in the mix, according to Bob Andrea, Manager of Village Animation and Events.  

Andrea’s team sees the RMOW hosting a big Whistler Summer Concert Series performance (announcement coming shortly!) with new Village animation elements, like “Croquet & Cake with Council” and an Invictus Games activation.   

What was not yet in the plan was a parade.  

Parades draw major resources and present challenges around parking lots, road closures, crowd control and security, from a municipal staff perspective. The model we are focused on creates a festive atmosphere by “replacing a 45-minute parade with five hours of programming throughout the entire Village,” to maximize resources.  

Council, nevertheless, has reservations. 

In a 30-minute discussion following Andrea’s presentation, they asked if removing the vehicle-driven float component of the traditional parade might reduce the investment to make it more viable as they’re hearing from residents it’s wanted. 

“I think everyone was expecting that after the great interrupter of COVID, that things were going to be normal last year, and that everything would be the same as it was before. And it’s not,” said Coun. Cathy Jewett. “You’ve come to us today to show us what the potential plans are. I think the next step is that the community, hopefully, hears about this and gives us feedback, so we can make a decision that reflects their desires.” 

While several community groups were consulted before Andrea made his presentation, Mayor Jack Crompton has asked the department to return for new direction from Council. 

For her part, RMOW Chief Administrative Officer Ginny Cullen is encouraging Council to make decisions “sooner rather than later,” adding a reminder there are several “important conversations that need to be had with Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation members, if we are going to plan a parade in Whistler.”   

For his part, Andrea is cautioning the mesh of animation and parade could be tough with the limited space; but he’s happy to explore both ideas. Whatever happens, his team takes great pride in their work, he noted, so “neither one is going to suck.” 

What does the future have in store for Lake Placid Road?  

The Creekside street is the centrepiece of a neighbourhood study, ahead of new residential zoning regulations 

As we prepare to adopt a new bylaw to increase density in residential neighbourhoods as the Provincial Government has legislated, we are also working through a study to imagine what higher-density housing could mean for a portion of Creekside.  

During Committee of the Whole, Council was invited to view sketches which reimagine Lake Placid Road. The section on the west side of Highway 99, between the Co-op fuel station and Nita Lake Lodge, is the subject of a Neighbourhood Study RMOW staff and a team of architects have been working on all year.  

“It’s not a plan, it’s not a design, it’s simply a study at this point in time,” said Dale Mikkelsen, Climate Action, Planning and Development Services Manager. 

He is looking to prompt ideas and conversations about scale and density before drawing up more formal plans. 

In the wake of the provincial government’s new housing legislation, Bill 44, municipal staff want to ensure Whistler isn’t missing any opportunities—especially in areas well-suited to higher-density housing developments.  

This area is “well-connected to transit, it’s well-connected to groceries and amenities, it’s well-connected to a lot of the reasons people live in Whistler—(including) the ski resort itself, the lakes, the valley trail—so it’s worth very careful consideration,” according to Mikkelsen. 

Lake Placid Road is already zoned in Whistler’s Official Community Plan (OCP) as “Core Commercial – Whistler Creek” and Lake Placid Road was the subject of a neighbourhood study conducted in 1991.  

This new concept imagines a “high-street” development model, with townhouses on the south side of the street and condos on the north side, bordering pedestrian walkways. 

Council was largely supportive of the vision—and of the valuable opportunity to imagine before stepping into making formal plans. Some councillors highlighted future redevelopment as an opportunity to address pedestrian safety and traffic congestion on Highway 99, while others expressed concern about the possibility of Creekside straying too far from its roots as Whistler’s first “village.”  

As Councillor Ralph Forsyth noted, the concept presented “looks really urban.”  

“It’s exciting, but I’m fearful at the same time. I would hate to lose the form and character of the original Creekside,” he said. 

Mayor Jack Crompton expressed his excitement at the prospect of driving density “at the base of the ski hill, in a ski town”—especially if the area maintains “its Creekside vibe.” 
“I think this is going to be one of the best places to live in Whistler for someone who works and lives in Whistler,” he said. 

Efforts to remove waste from Whistler’s landfills are making progress, but more needs to be done.  

The dirty details: Mayor and Council hear Zero Waste Action Plan Progress Report 

Audit finds more than half of Whistler’s landfill waste could be diverted through composting, recycling and other programs 

Progress is slow on the goal to become a zero-waste community. 

The Zero Waste Action Plan Progress Report says we sent 11,561 tonnes of waste to landfill as a community in 2023. This is a similar figure to each of the past four years.  

While the average Whistlerite does generate less waste than the provincial average—only 304 kilograms per person compared to the 506 kg for an average B.C. resident—our diversion rate is not changing. 

“We clearly still have a very, very long way to go, but we are moving in the correct direction,” said Lauren Harrison, Solid Waste Technician. 

Whistler has a goal to reduce our waste to 80 per cent of 2019 levels by 2030. The 2021 Zero Waste Action Plan was developed to help us hit this target and ongoing work is done to track how well we’re doing.  

Last April, a waste composition audit conducted at the Nesters and Function Junction depots, and 67 per cent of the landfill waste collected was determined to be recyclable, a compostable or something which could be sent to a more sustainable path. 
“Food waste is where we can have the most immediate impact right now,” Harrison said, noting 30 per cent of the material examined was organic. 

Achieving zero waste isn’t just about recycling and composting, but also reducing and reusing according to Harrison who is advocating for a wholesale culture shift in how we consume. If the community were to achieve a perfect recycling and compost scorecard, it would still only reach 51 per cent of the target, she pointed out, stating the rest must come from reducing our overall waste. 

In 2023, 73.7 per cent of Whistler’s landfill waste came from commercial and strata properties, 14.5 per cent came from the construction sector and 11.8 per cent from the community’s two residential depots. 

The progress report includes updates on eight priority actions, including education and technical assistance to businesses in the commercial and accommodations sector, as well as mandating deconstruction, not demolition, of buildings. (Learn more about those priorities here.) 

“There’s so many great things we’re doing. We’ve mentioned the Re-build-it and Re-use-it Centres, the number of items we recycle; when I go to Nesters waste station it’s just buzzing—I’m both frustrated and hopeful with this,” said Coun. Arthur De Jong. “When I look at the six ‘Climate Action] ‘Big Moves,’ each one of them needs technological and behavioural change, for the most part.” 

Keeping divertible waste out of landfills “is the one where, if we had the will, we can get the ball close to the finish line,” he added. “Keep pushing, and push us to push with you—we can do better.” 

Council approves Community Enrichment Program grants 

Thirty-nine CEP grants doled out to community groups in 2024 

A long list of Whistler not-for-profits will receive thousands of dollars this spring.  
Council has approved 39 Community Enrichment Program (CEP) grants for 35 different organizations working to benefit the community in the Environment, Social Service, Community Service, Recreation and Sport, or Arts and Culture sectors. 

Groups like the Axemen Rugby Club, Whistler Community Services Society and the Whistler Writing Society are among CEP funding recipients in 2024, with those grants ranging from $1,500 to $25,000 each. In total, the RMOW is providing $180,504 in CEP grant funding to community groups this year. (Find the full list of recipients here.) 

The annual grants have been funded by a small percentage of the RMOW’s general operating revenue since the program was introduced in 2005. This year’s CEP budget of $180,504 represents 0.182 per cent of our overall operating budget and allows for a minimum of $6,000 in scholarships for Whistler Secondary School graduating students. 
After asking whether there were any funds remaining in the CEP budget, after approving the 39 grants, Coun. Cathy Jewett introduced an amendment seeking to direct any leftover dollars to the Mature Action Committee.  

After a brief recess following the motion, Mayor Crompton suggested adopting the CEP grant allocations as proposed in the Council agenda, and pushing consideration about where to direct leftover funds to a future meeting. 

To attend an upcoming meeting, check out the Council Meeting Schedule. Agendas and Minutes are available online. To connect with Council, consider Presenting to Council, or get in touch with them individually by phone or email