Budget guidelines endorsed and projects aligned with Council focus areas
Planning at the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is well underway for 2022 with projects identified and Budget Guidelines established to guide the organization into the year ahead and beyond.
The RMOW Council and Senior Management Team held its annual retreat on December 8, where the group discussed progress on focus areas and key projects, identified priorities for 2022 and discussed emerging topics such as the 2030 Winter Olympic Games MOU. The RMOW was asked to join in signing the MOU by the Four Host First Nations: Lil’wat Nation, Squamish Nation, Musqueam Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
“We know that COVID-19 continues to present unprecedented challenges to our community,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton. “The 2022 Budget looks to address our community’s recovery while building resilience for future events. We continue to progress within our four focus areas —community balance, climate action, housing and pandemic recovery. We will continue to check in on projects aligned with these throughout the year.”
Council endorsed guidelines for an operating budget of $101.5 million including a $48.5 million project budget at the December 21 Council meeting.
The increase to general municipal taxes is 6.72 per cent and utilities parcel tax and user fees is 3 per cent each for sewer, water and solid waste.
Property taxes contribute approximately 42 per cent of the funding the RMOW has to pay for roads, sewers, water and other municipal services such as fire and police and recreation. Another 22 per cent is utility taxes and fees, and18 per cent is made up of provincial funding sources such as the Municipal Regional District Tax (MRDT) and Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) Program—which can only be spent on provincially approved tourism initiatives. The remainder of the funding comes from user fees, charges, grants, and investment income.
The RMOW plans its annual and five-year financial plans to manage day-to-day services, operations, projects, and infrastructure investments and to take into consideration the longer term strategy, challenges and vision for Whistler.
While a substantial amount of the work done at the municipality is reflected through the ongoing operating budget, this year’s project budget has a strong focus on reserve reinvestment and community infrastructure. This focus includes continued major investments into community wildfire protection. New investments into water metering and electric vehicle charging stations are also in the plans.
The Strategic Planning Committee will continue next year on its long-term community planning work, while RMOW subsidiaries Whistler Housing Authority and Whistler 2020 Development Corporation will continue with new employee housing initiatives such as the second phase of Cheakamus Crossing. The RMOW is set to meet and possibly exceed the goal of 1,000 new bed units for local employees that was set by the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing in 2016.
Find more budget information at www.whistler.ca/budget
Other components of the RMOW annual corporate planning cycle include the annual report, which is shared annually midway through the year, as well as quarterly financial updates, which are each shared with Council and the community on an ongoing basis.