104 units of employee-restricted housing come one step closer, Whistler Summer Concert Series Producer contract awarded, and more.
Looking to get caught up on the Tuesday, January 23 Council meeting? We’ve pulled together some of the key items that were presented to Mayor and Council last week, including:
- The RMOW’s corporate Greenhouse Gas reduction plan
- Whistler Summer Concert Series Producer Contract
- Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2, Lot 5 terms of occupancy agreement
- Fee-for-service funding for not-for-profits in 2024
Focus on electrification of the RMOW’s light and heavy-duty fleet vehicles will be a key part in the corporate GHG emissions reduction plan. Photo: Justa Jeskova
Council carries corporate Greenhouse Gas reduction plan
Guided by the RMOW’s Big Moves strategy, Climate Action Coordinator Maria Thorlakson presented a Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan to Council this week. Thorlakson described the plan as a roadmap to reach the RMOW’s GHG emissions reduction target of 50 per cent by 2030, and outlined four ways to achieve the target, including:
- fleet electrification, replacing light and heavy-duty fleet vehicles at end of life with zero emission vehicles;
- sewage management, applying energy efficiency measures and switching fuel sources;
- recreation, applying energy efficiency measures and switch fuel sources; and
- a climate-first approach to our choice of contractors, like waste collectors, with policy to prioritize those who make the effort to lower their carbon emissions as much as possible
The councillors asked about other low carbon energy sources and costs to completely change to low carbon sources, with the latter prompting most discussion. Thorlakson noted that without outside funding, the targets laid out would be hard to fully achieve, but said she believed the plan being presented would help the RMOW successfully secure funding.
Mayor Jack Crompton asked whether they should consider the plan aspirational, and she added: “I think it’s realistic. We don’t set what we think we can achieve, we set what we need to achieve.”
The motion to accept the plan was put forward. It carried, meaning funds required for implementation from 2025 onwards will be voted on next year as part of the 2025 budget.
Approximately 40,000 locals and visitors enjoyed the Whistler Summer Concert Series this past summer. Photo: TW/Mike Crane
Producer contract for Whistler Summer Concert Series awarded
Planning for one of Whistler’s favourite summertime happenings is underway, with the Whistler Summer Concert Series’ (WSCS) producer named for 2024.
This past year’s contract was awarded through a Request for Proposals process in early 2023, which included an option to renew the contract upon review at the end of the season. The review was done, and staff put forward Kristen Robinson Productions to Council for 2024 renewal.
The concert series is funded entirely through the province’s Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT), which is generated by hotel tax, intended to support tourism programs and projects. The 2024 budget is $805,000 for the series, which includes all costs, including talent, related to the concert series.
As in 2023, the 2024 WSCS will feature 13 to 14 show dates with the first show on or around Canada Day and the last performance just before Labour Day. Specific show dates will be confirmed and announced as soon as possible. The performer lineup will take a little longer to confirm and will be announced in the spring.
The summary of 2023 and plans for 2024 were presented by Bob Andrea, Manager of Village Animations of Events. Following his presentation, councillors shared their support of the series, with Coun. Arthur de Jong calling it “a win-win for locals and visitors.”
Both Coun. Jessie Morden and Coun. Cathy Jewett asked to incorporate more local bands into the programming. In 2023, local DJs opened for the main acts. Coun. Jeff Murl suggested exploring multi-year contracts so the event producer could lock in acts sooner.
The motion was carried unanimously, and Whistlerite Kristen Robinson was awarded the contract.
Coun. Ralph Forsyth added one final comment: “It’s a testament to how awesome Whistler is that it’s a local resident that has those connections and can book that talent. Pleased to see that the contract’s awarded to someone who lives here.”
Lot 5 (1475 Mt Fee Rd) in the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood. Photo taken with permissions/permit.
Council celebrates Planning departments “hustle” as Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2 Lot 5 moves one step closer to breaking ground
The 104 dwelling units of employee-restricted rental housing at 1475 Mount Fee Road, the next development in the Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2 project, are now one step further along in the process.
This week, Council endorsed the Housing Agreement for 1475 Mount Fee Road, also known as Lot 5 of the Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2 development, which establishes the terms of occupancy. This includes:
- occupancy and eligibility restriction;
- initial maximum rental rates;
- commitment to the K-01 policy for Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) rental management and rent geared to income; and
- administration and management restrictions.
The development will include 24 studios, 40 one-bedroom units, 32 two-bedroom units, and eight three-bedroom units, split between two apartment-style buildings. All units will be available through the WHA rental waitlist.
The two apartment buildings will be constructed by Whistler Development Corporation (WDC) and are intended to be purchased and managed by the WHA as affordable, employee-restricted rental housing.
Following Manager of Projects Planning John Chapman’s presentation, Council’s conversation focused on the Planning department’s “hustle” to get housing built for this community.
“I think that it’s great that we’re able to push so hard and move so quickly,” summed up Mayor Crompton. “We’re moving quickly. We’re accomplishing the tasks that we need to accomplish.”
Work is projected to begin at 1475 Mount Fee Road in the spring, with an occupancy goal of 2026.
Spring Creek Fire Hall, pictured in 2014. Photo: Mike Crane
Daytime staff for Spring Creek Fire Hall
Spring Creek Fire Hall, also known as Fire Hall 3, will be staffed with full-time firefighters, to keep pace with population growth and mounting concern over wildfire preparation.
During the regular Tuesday evening council meeting, RMOW Council voted to fund the addition of two career firefighters on a seven-day-a-week basis, during daytime hours. The new staff are expected to be in place by spring.
The adjustment will cost up to $555,000, out of the General Operating Reserve, and will be reviewed at years’ end, with plans to consider expansion to 24-hour coverage by 2026.
Whistler’s permanent population increased by over 20 per cent (2,420 people) between 2015 and 2020, according to B.C. Statistics. The community’s population equivalent—which includes second homeowners, seasonal staff, commuters and day visitors—also grew to an estimated annualized average daily population of over 42,000 in 2023. More than 20,000 are estimated to be ‘resident’ on any given day.
Details are available in the full press release on whistler.ca.
WAG is on track to receive up to $120,000 in support to continue its crucial operations in the community, along with four other local not-for-profits. Photo: Mike Crane
Annual municipal funding awarded to five not-for-profits
Five non-profit organizations have been selected to receive Fee for Service (FFS) funding from the municipality in 2024. FFS funding is awarded for services the RMOW believes are important to the community and can be delivered with the expertise and experience of these organizations at a lower cost.
General Manager of Community Engagement and Cultural Services Karen Elliott proposed the following FFS funding model for 2024:
- Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council, up to $73,500;
- Whistler Animals Galore, up to $120,750;
- Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association, up to $282,450;
- Whistler Museum and Archives Society, up to $218,400; and
- Arts Whistler up to $577,500.
The 2023 funding agreements between the RMOW and the five recipient organizations concluded on December 31, 2023. During 2023, RMOW staff reviewed and considered the 2024 applications. Funding is subject to terms and conditions.
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.