Community Vision

Chapter 2


Our Community Vision defines what must exist in Whistler for us to be successful and sustainable in the long-term. It is intended to be used as a compass for all that we do; all decision-making and activities—whether related to transportation, development, recreation, social programs and so on. Our Community Vision was informed by community input, and social, ecological and economic goals and principles, including the Natural Step. It replaces our previous vision, Whistler2020.

Having a community vision allows us to dream and be inspired. It clarifies what we are collectively trying to achieve, creating a place of agreement, and then providing a platform for dialogue and decision-making. We might not always agree on ‘how’ to move forward, but the vision gives us a shared future, enabling different people and organizations to contribute in different ways to our community.

This Community Vision builds on a history of setting an aspirational vision for our community and then working to achieve it. From the vision to host the 1968 Olympic Winter Games and develop an international ski destination, to the blueprint for the walkable Village we enjoy today and our desire to work toward sustainability—having a clear vision of what we want to achieve has always been important in Whistler.

Sense of place… The character of Whistler is largely defined by deliberate and foundational community design and planning decisions. A lively pedestrian Village as the core town centre remains, and its proximity to the mountain resort area is one of our best attributes. The warm bed covenants continue to ensure a vibrant centre and that rooms don’t sit dark. Strict design guidelines ensure that building materials, landscaping and viewscapes are complementary to our mountain environment. The Village encourages people to meet and meander, always in sight of one view or another. Our neighbourhoods are mainly hidden in the trees, between extensive green spaces and parks, offering privacy and tranquility yet easy access to the bustle and vibrancy of town. And the number of beds, and where they are built, continues to be closely overseen to strive toward the best balance of size and experience for both residents and visitors. By design, we can be guardians of the mountain culture and character that has emerged from the uniqueness of the people and place that make up Whistler as it evolves.

A thriving community… Whistler is a place where residents thrive. It offers a high quality of life through the necessary critical elements such as adequate and affordable housing, resilient neighbourhoods, sustainable mobility options, a diverse and resilient local economy, vibrant gathering spaces and more. The passionate risk takers and their families who built Whistler are still here. We have attracted friendly, youthful people who not only share a passion for the mountains, and have a sense of adventure, but also take a great deal of pride in living and working, learning and playing in a hard-working, resourceful and supportive community. Whistler is made up of young families, adrenaline-seekers, retirees, artists, business people and more who came for one season, discovered so much more, and never left. We gather in Olympic Plaza for concerts and at schools for graduation ceremonies. We seek thrills in the bike park and find peace in the backcountry. We continue the pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit that created this place, taking risks and innovating to make Whistler better.

The resort… Whistler is a vibrant and authentic year-round mountain resort that remains dynamic and successful in a competitive landscape. With its foundation steeped in our snowy winters, the core resort asset is premised on awe-inspiring mountains, lakes and forests, and unparalleled outdoor recreation. Leadership is exhibited in environmental responsibility, sustainable infrastructure and facilities, as well as in the products, events and cultural offerings that showcase our mountain culture. Our pedestrian Village is our town centre full of vitality, situated in visual harmony with the environment where residents rub shoulders with visitors from around the world.

Striking a balance… Those who have made Whistler their home understand that the community and the resort are interwoven. The resort would not be successful without the community and the community would be lesser without the resort. Balancing the needs of each requires constant monitoring and adjustments. When the balance is right, each reinforces the other.

Within the natural environment… This resort-community balance must be maintained within the context of the natural environment—that within our backyard and beyond. We value the protection of wetlands, forests and other natural areas and we seek to conserve natural resources. We understand our fundamental dependence on the environment—for our health and well-being, and for the success of our tourism-based economy.

Our Community Vision includes a high level vision statement and more detailed vision characteristics that define what must exist in Whistler for us to be successful and sustainable in the long-term. The statements are written in the present tense, articulating the outcomes that we are aiming to achieve.

Ultimately, in the long-term, we want to achieve all statements below, but we recognize there will be short-term trade-offs along the way. Trade-offs occur when a step toward one aspect of the vision means a lack of progress toward, or even a step away from, another aspect or aspects. Therefore, trade-offs should be short-term and the initiatives that cause them should be flexible stepping-stones, not locking us to them over the long-term. Trade-offs should also be evaluated carefully to ensure that critical aspects of the vision are not compromised.

This is the Whistler we are aspiring to achieve now and into the future…

Whistler: A place where our community thrives, nature is protected and guests are inspired.

  • 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.

Sense of Place

  1. CULTURE: Our genuine mountain culture pervades the community and is celebrated. It is enhanced by the rich heritage and culture of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, on whose unceded traditional lands our community sits.
  2. LANDSCAPE: Natural areas are never far from sight and reach; they are the predominant component of our mountain landscape, core to our mountain culture and the basis of our outstanding recreation offerings.
  3. BALANCE: Community life and resort visitation are balanced, both occurring within the carrying capacity of our developed and natural environments.
  4. VIBRANT: Vibrant community spaces are full of energy and frequent celebration, while not interfering with natural places of solitude and rejuvenation.


  1. RESPECT: We understand, respect and steward natural areas as the foundation of our community, our tourism-based economy and overall human health.
  2. PROTECTION: Our development footprint is limited: sensitive ecosystems, wildlife habitat and indigenous biodiversity are healthy, protected and where necessary restored. We support the protection of regional ecosystems, wildlife habitat and agricultural land.
  3. ACCESS: Where natural areas are accessed and enjoyed for recreation and overall well-being, we do so in a responsible way.
  4. RESOURCES: Natural resources and energy are conserved and we have achieved zero waste. Water sources are protected. Natural materials are selected and synthetic substances and emissions are managed to protect human well-being and ecosystem health.
  5. CLIMATE: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are being systematically eliminated, all energy is derived from renewable sources and we are increasing our resilience to a changing climate.


  1. QUALITY OF LIFE: We enjoy good health and high quality of life. Affordable housing and other essentials allow us to meet our needs and participate in Whistler’s lifestyle through all stages of life.
  2. INCLUSIVE: Residents and visitors of all ages, identities, abilities and incomes are welcome, included, and share our love for nature, active recreation, human connections and innovation.
  3. CONNECTED: Community connections are strong and interactions with visitors are valued as an extension of the community.
  4. CONDUCT: Everyone is treated with fairness, respect and care, and as a result we enjoy high levels of mutual trust and safety.
  5. PARTICIPATION: We are able to meaningfully participate in community decisions, collaborating to achieve our Community Vision.
  6. PARTNERSHIPS: We have established strong partnerships with the Squamish Nation, Lil’wat Nation, other levels of government and community stakeholders based on open dialogue, honesty, respect and collaboration, resulting in the achievement of mutual goals and shared benefits.

Tourism-based Economy

  1. RESILIENT: Our tourism-based economy is strong, diverse and resilient. Economic opportunities and employment support high quality of life.
  2. EXPERIENCE: Whistler offers diverse, year-round and authentic experiences that offer exceptional value and sustain visitation.
  3. DEPENDENCE: Economic activity depends on and respects the natural environment, our unique mountain culture and the people of our community.
  4. LOCAL: Locally owned businesses are essential and thrive.
  5. RENEWAL: Innovation, renewal and reinvestment in Whistler’s infrastructure and offerings support livelihoods, quality of life and the visitor experience.

For years, Whistler has tracked performance related to our Community Vision using more than 90 indicators that are tracked on an annual or as available basis. The monitoring program provides a number of benefits and essential functions, including:

  • tracking progress toward (or away from) Whistler’s vision—allowing us to celebrate and build on successful programs, and to correct our course when necessary;
  • ensuring transparency and accountability to stakeholders—reporting ensures transparency to community members and other Whistler stakeholders; and
  • educating and engaging Whistler businesses, residents and visitors—providing meaningful and timely information in an engaging way helps to illustrate connections between policy, actions and community health.

To view the full list of indicators, performance data and more information about the monitoring program, visit

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