Health and Wellness

Chapter 8

What it’s about

Maintaining the quality of the local medical system and supporting health and wellness for residents and visitors.

Whistler’s focus on health has evolved to address a more holistic vision of health. Whistler benefits from a healthy natural environment and abundant recreation and leisure activities. Whistler residents eat healthy food, exercise regularly and make other healthy life choices.

The provincial medical and mental health system provides high quality services that meet the diverse needs of residents and of visitors while they are here. In addition, the resort community has a wide range of world-class health and wellness services provided by private practitioners servicing our active culture. These services benefit the resort community quality of life and enhance the attractiveness of Whistler as a resort destination meeting the needs of both residents and visitors.

Residents consistently self-report their overall health status (including physical, mental and social health) as very good or excellent.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) operates the Whistler Health Care Centre, which provides public health and emergency services. There are also on-site radiology, CT scanner and laboratory services. The municipality and VCH signed a Healthy Communities Partnership Agreement to promote the health and wellness of the Whistler community and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

The demand for services and the number of admittances has grown as the resort community population and visitation have grown. There are a relatively high number of medical visits due to injuries associated with high risk recreation activities. This has stretched the capacity of existing equipment and facilities, including the trauma centre.

Whistler has several medical clinics. However, there is concern over a shortage of medical practitioners serving the resort community and a gap in primary care needs. General practitioners find it relatively less affordable to operate in Whistler and are losing staff. Some residents have expressed difficulty finding a family doctor.

As the resort community’s population ages, Whistler is being confronted with finding ways to accommodate more people with mobility, cognitive, visual and hearing limitations. Other vulnerable groups, including children, young adults, people with disabilities and the homeless, also have needs that must be addressed.

Click the ‘Objectives & Policies’ to display additional content.

8.11. Goal Strive to ensure community health and social services and facilities meet the physical, mental, spiritual and social needs of residents and visitors.

8.11.1. Objective

Engage with service providers and the community to maintain and coordinate high quality services with a particular focus on the needs of those who are most vulnerable. Policy

Review with VCH the expansion of the existing Whistler Health Care Centre, as shown in Schedule D, for additional health services, including overnight care, as necessary. Policy

Explore with VCH future health care sites for additional health services, if required. Policy

Engage VCH in reviewing health care infrastructure capacity in conjunction with future community development, resort development and activities.

Text Box: VCH is responsible to the provincial government for all health budget and program decisions for its region, which includes Whistler. The municipality will communicate with all relevant agencies about community health care resource, infrastructure and service needs, as well as land use needs and impacts within municipal boundaries. Other levels of government and agencies are responsible for health service decisions, which impact land use within the municipal boundaries. The municipality will play an active role to ensure these organizations keep our community’s values, objectives and needs in mind. Policy

Foster a community culture that prioritizes prevention and holistic care as the approach to combating illness and substance abuse with early and ongoing intervention and a strong focus on youth. Policy

Support the private sector in providing general family medicine through a variety of mechanisms, including the possible provision of subsidized space to doctors who provide complex, comprehensive care. Policy

Encourage the private sector in providing a full range of specialized health and wellness services, including sports medicine and injury recovery, that complement the public health care system. Policy

Work with relevant agencies and stakeholders to assess the need and delivery strategies for adult and senior care facilities and services in the resort community, including those focused on mental health and assisted living. Policy

Partner with the Lil’wat Nation, Squamish Nation and VCH wherever possible on community health, education and training initiatives and monitoring to improve health outcomes. Policy

Engage with social service providers to ensure an adequate level of services is maintained. Policy

Advocate for and support a strong, local mental health system adapted to Whistler’s unique demographics and community needs. Policy

Provide core levels of recreation services, programs and facilities, recognizing that these services are essential preventive health care and injury rehabilitation services.