The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW)’s updated Official Community Plan (OCP) draft has been completed following nine months of review and stakeholder engagement. The municipality’s most important guiding document received first reading by Whistler Council at the regular council meeting on October 2.
“An updated OCP has been a priority of this Council,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the process, from the staff spearheading the review and community engagement process, to residents and partners participating in two community forums, many stakeholder meetings, one on one conversations, and online feedback.”
Through the “My Future Whistler” input process, feedback received from the community and partners highlighted the importance of a strong community, community livability, protection of the natural environment, access to natural areas, the need for housing, sustainability and the need for a balanced resort and community capacity.
The OCP includes descriptions of shared future, current reality, goals, objectives and policies for 10 chapter areas, as well as planning context, development permit areas, and reference maps and plans.
The document includes an updated Vision (“Whistler: Our community thrives, nature is protected and guests are inspired.”) with vision characteristics and statements to define Whistler’s long-term success and sustainability:
- Our resort community thrives on mountain culture and the nature that surrounds us.
- We protect the land – the forests, the lakes and the rivers, and all that they sustain.
- We enjoy a high quality of life in balance with our prosperous tourism economy.
- We seek opportunities for innovation and renewal.
- We recognize the value of our history and the foundations of our resort community.
- We honour those who came before us and respect those who will come after us.
- We move forward with the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation and reconcile with the past.
- We value our relationships and work together as partners and community members.
Whistler will continue its robust annual community monitoring program to track performance in more than 90 areas with indicators related to our community vision.
The updated OCP does not propose any overall changes to the fundamental nature of Whistler. It:
- builds upon Whistler’s enduring vision as a destination resort community
- seeks to protect and reinforce what makes Whistler a special place to live and visit, and
- guides Whistler’s ongoing evolution.
Starting in December 2017, the municipality has worked with community members, stakeholders, provincial agencies, legal counsel and representatives from the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation to complete this project.
The updated OCP is a continuation of the work and extensive community engagement completed on the OCP update over 20 months between 2010 and 2012.
With Council’s term drawing to a close only first reading was given to the OCP to provide the new Council with opportunities to review the document and provide input and direction.
The timeline allows for further review and comments from the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation before further Council consideration.
With direction from the new Council, the OCP bylaw with any potential revisions requires:
- second reading
- statutory referrals to any affected agencies
- a public hearing
- third reading
- referral to the SLRD Board for adoption of the Regional Context Statement
- referral and approval by the BC Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, including First Nations consultation, and
- final adoption by Council.
It is anticipated that this process could be completed in summer 2019.
About Whistler’s Official Community Plan (OCP)
The RMOW’s OCP is a required document adopted by bylaw under the authority of the Local Government Act. The OCP is the RMOW’s most important document for guiding the physical development of the resort community. It articulates policies for growth management, land use, housing, and greenhouse gas emissions targets, as well as for social and environmental issues. The updated Vision describes what the resort community is collectively trying to achieve over the long term and replaces the vision included in Whistler2020.
Whistler’s first OCP was adopted in 1976. Whistler’s amended 1993 OCP currently guides the long-term, physical development of the resort community. Once approved, the 2018 update to the Official Community Plan will replace the 1993 OCP.