With the New Year around the corner, I’d like to take a few minutes to reflect on our accomplishments in 2017 and our plans for 2018.
I would first like to acknowledge the late councilor Andrée Janyk who we miss dearly. I know that Andrée would want us to celebrate our accomplishments and continue to move forward.
I would like to reflect on some of the many notable accomplishments in 2017, including work on:
- Housing initiatives through the Mayor’s Housing Task Force (including Tourist Accommodation Review, research and long term recommendations.
- Transportation Action Plan and successful implementation of a variety of measures to reduce congestion and grow the options for preferred modes of transportation
- The Alpine trail network
- Completion of the Alpine Meadows water main replacement and paving in that neighbourhood
- Continued development on the Cultural Connector
- Work toward completion of the Gateway Loop
- Launch of the new GIS online map including a variety of new tools such as Valley Trail clearing map and parking map
- Meadow Park Sports Centre Valley Trail extension
- Parkhurst land acquisition
- Waste diversion initiatives to continue to increase our landfill diversion rates including:
- Upgrades to the Nester’s waste depot
- the Solid Waste Bylaw update focused on organic waste within commercial and residential stratas
- We have kept property tax increases to less than one per cent over the past six years and have accrued no additional debt, while continuing contributions to our reserves. We are on track to be debt free in less than ten years.
It has been a big year and those are just some of the accomplishments of the organization on behalf of the community.
2017 has been one of the best years on record for our community’s tourism economy. Thank you to our partners Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and and our many other community partners for helping to make Whistler a truly incredible place to live and visit. Our relationships with the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada also continue to be integral to our success.
As the community continues to evolve and visitation to Whistler increases, the RMOW is constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of residents and visitors. Hundreds attended the November 6 Community forum to learn about important local issues such as housing, transportation, economic health, and environmental impacts and share feedback with staff and Council about long term planning.
It is an important time for the community and this Council: It is the final year in the term of this Council. And while we are quite focussed on current community pressures, and on delivering what we set out to, we must balance this with looking forward to long-term planning that helps ensure our future success for generations to come.
In 2018, Council will focus on the following priorities:
- Continue to prioritize core municipal service delivery excellence
- Implement actions to advance housing, transportation and affordability initiatives
- Facilitate improved community environmental performance
- Expand wildfire protection activities
- Initiate engagement to revise the Official Community Plan and the associated community vision.
The Council priorities will be used by staff in the development of the updated Corporate Plan and budget for 2018. There will be a number of opportunities for the community to learn more about the 2018 plan and budget moving forward over the coming months. We look forward to continued community success and strong partnerships in the New Year.
I also want to acknowledge the work of members of Council and staff for the work they all do on behalf of our community. Thank you. A special acknowledgement also to the late councilor Andree Janyk who we miss dearly.
As the holiday season approaches, on behalf of Whistler council, I would like to extend our best wishes to our residents, visitors, and community partners for a safe and happy holiday season.