Council appoints five members to Strategic Planning Committee
Committee to focus on future municipal planning guided by official community plan
At its July 23 meeting, Council announced the appointments of five community at large positions to its Strategic Planning Committee (SPC). The new select committee of Council was created this year to provide forward-looking strategic input on long-term community planning and land use activities aligned with the Official Community Plan (OCP).
The SPC members represent a wide range of community interests including strategic planning, community planning and development, land use planning, the Municipality and the community at large. Other committee members were appointed along with the terms of reference in May. The full committee is comprised of the following:
- Community Members-at-Large – Emily Amirault, Dave Brownlie, David Dale-Johnson, Robyn Spencer and Dave Williamson
- RMOW Mayor Jack Crompton (Chair)
- RMOW Councillor Duane Jackson
- RMOW Councillor Arthur De Jong
- RMOW Staff – Mike Furey, Jan Jansen and Mike Kirkegaard
- Two non-voting RMOW staff representatives from the Economic Development Department
“Council based its appointments on selecting community representatives with unique and diverse perspectives,” said Mayor Jack Crompton. “The important planning work that this committee will guide is critical for Whistler’s future. This initiative has been a priority of this Council and I am very enthusiastic about getting this going.”
The guiding principles of the SPC are to encourage progressive thinking for the benefit of the resort community as reflected in the OCP; manage growth and development to achieve the goals of the community vision and OCP; consider risks and effective adaptation to changing and potential future external conditions; ensuring balanced and effective use of limited financial, social and natural resources; and including the community at large in community planning, while developing effective and collaborative partnerships that support community goals.
“Initiating the committee now is well timed with the Official Community Plan receiving third reading from Council this week,” added the Mayor. “I am proud of the incredible community-wide effort that went into updating our highest level policy document. It is the shared roadmap that guides the physical development of Whistler within the vision that shapes our future.”
The purpose of the OCP is to establish policies that guide decisions on community planning and land use management for the RMOW over the next five to 10 years and beyond. The OCP also contains a renewed Community Vision for Whistler that articulates the high level aspirations for our resort community, describing what we collectively seek to achieve now and over Whistler’s long-term future. The new draft vision statement is: Whistler: A place where our community thrives, nature is protected and guests are inspired.
The OCP articulates policies for growth management, land use, housing, and greenhouse gas emissions targets, as well as for social and environmental issues. Community and organizational progress will continue to be measured through the Community Monitoring Program, which has been in place and continued to evolve since 1994.
The third reading of the OCP bylaw follows more than 3,000 hours of citizen and stakeholder engagement that has been invested in the development of the OCP since 2010, a two-phase consultation process through 2018 and public hearing in spring 2019. The updated OCP is expected to be completed this year and will replace the 1993 OCP. Whistler’s original OCP was adopted in 1976 and various updates and amendments have taken place since that time.
In line with the policy direction in the OCP, the SPC will identify and source relevant data needs to assist in understanding the current situation, determine a range of various metrics to monitor and use in scenario planning to proactively manage the resort experience, and provide strategic advice to Council surrounding potential community planning needs. Other strategic issues for consideration by the SPC include:
- Potential uses for RMOW-owned lands taking into consideration community values, carrying capacity and preservation needs;
- The extent to which Whistler’s housing needs may be met, consistent with growth management policies, while considering the financial implications and associated risks;
- Institutional facility and service needs assessment to support longer term community needs (e.g. schools, day cares, medical facilities etc.);
- Evaluation of existing and approved future development potential; and
- Potential major amendments of the OCP or major development applications.