What it’s about
Ensuring that Whistler’s water, wastewater, transportation, waste management, energy, communications and flood protection infrastructure are sustainably maintained and will be able to accommodate ongoing changes in the community.
Whistler’s infrastructure systems make a significant contribution to the livability and success of Whistler as a resort community.
Whistler’s water, wastewater, drainage and solid waste infrastructure systems set an example for others to follow, consistent with its standing as a world-class resort community that is steadily moving towards sustainability. Whistler residents and visitors enjoy high quality drinking water and know how to conserve this valuable resource. A dependable water supply is in place for personal, commercial and fire protection needs. Whistler’s wastewater collection and treatment systems exceed requirements and have no negative impacts on the natural environment, while drainage management and flood control measures replicate natural hydrological systems and functions as much as possible. Continual innovation in solid waste management to protect wildlife from conflict while continuing to develop ambitious composting and recycling programs, ensure that Whistler’s zero waste goal has been met and is being sustained. Residents and visitors will be aware of the impact of their purchasing decisions, and they will be supported in choosing products with low energy and waste impacts. Whistler’s infrastructure systems will help to educate visitors and inspire action in other parts of the world. The high quality of Whistler’s infrastructure systems continues to set the resort community apart from other destinations.
Whistler’s wastewater treatment facility, water supply system, drainage management systems and solid waste management facilities meet or exceed all present applicable standards and are well-positioned to meet Whistler’s future needs. This infrastructure is shown in Schedules D, H and I.
Whistler’s total water use has been steadily increasing over the past four years. Whistlerites used 440 litres/person/day in 2017, compared to the 2020 target of 425 litres/person/day. Total waste to landfill has remained relatively constant over the past four years, but annual per person landfilled waste production still exceeds the performance target for the year 2020 of 350 kilograms/person/year.
Click the ‘Objectives & Policies’ to display additional content.
12.1. Goal Whistler provides safe drinking water and reliable water supplies for residential, commercial and fire protection needs in a manner that is cost-effective, maintains reliable infrastructure and uses conservation to minimize environmental impacts.
Maintain a potable water supply system that continues to produce sufficient domestic water quantities for current and planned future development, and water quality that meets or exceeds the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines and fulfils the requirements of the Permit(s) to Operate issued by the Local Health Authority.
Maintain a water supply system, as illustrated in Schedule H, that continues to produce sufficient domestic and firefighting water quantities for current and planned future development, and water quality that meets or exceeds the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines and fulfils the requirements of the annual Permit(s) to Operate issued by the Local Health Authority.
Implement water conservation measures and water supply improvements, if required, while adhering to all provincial water conservation guidelines.
Require lands within the water service area illustrated in Schedule H to be connected to the water supply system for the provision of potable water, when reviewing and considering approval of land development applications.
Investigate the capital and long-term operating costs of providing water supply and treatment services to areas outside of the water system service area illustrated in Schedule H, when reviewing and considering approval of new land development proposals.
Continue implementation of the recommendations in the Groundwater Resource Protection Plan. This plan, developed using the Province’s “Well Protection Toolkit” as a guideline, was endorsed as a Council Policy in 2008.
Consider the importance of groundwater, and address impacts that land uses may have upon the well protection areas, by applying the requirements identified in the Aquifer Protection Development Permit Area.
Implement the recommendations in the Source Water Protection Plan (which is required under the annual Permit to Operate issued by the Local Health Authority).
Investigate the resiliency of the water supply and distribution systems with respect to the impact of climate change and natural disasters.
Support the development of infrastructure that allows recycled water to be distributed for non-potable uses to the extent accommodated by evolving provincial legislation.
Continue to collaborate with relevant agencies and stakeholders to implement water conservation technologies and programs.
12.2. Goal Whistler’s sewer systems meet all applicable standards and are maintained in a manner that is cost-effective, ensures reliability and minimizes or eliminates environmental impacts.
Maintain and develop sewer systems to service planned development in a manner that is compatible with environmental sensitivities of Whistler’s natural areas, meets regulatory obligations and sets standards consistent with Whistler’s move toward sustainability.
Maintain a sewage collection and treatment system that transports and treats sufficient wastewater quantities for current and planned future development, and ensures discharge quality meets or exceeds the Operational Certificate issued by the B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy.
Maintain at least tertiary level wastewater treatment facilities and a sewage collection system to serve existing and planned development within the sewer system service area with a sewage treatment facility at the location shown in Schedule I.
Follow the implementation plan set out in the municipality’s Liquid Waste Management Plan.
Implement water conservation and inflow/infiltration reduction measures before expanding the sewer collection and treatment capacity by conventional engineering design.
Require lands within the sewer system service area, as shown in Schedule I, to be connected to the sewer system when considering land development applications.
Withhold approval of any proposed development outside the sewer system service area with a sewage disposal system that would result in negative environmental impact.
Investigate the resiliency of the sewer collection and treatment systems with respect to the impact of climate change and natural disasters.
12.3. Goal Move progressively toward zero waste.
Limit, minimize impacts of, and eventually eliminate in a cost-effective manner Whistler’s municipal waste.
Text Box: Zero Waste: A goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing zero waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.
Continue to pursue Whistler’s zero waste goal endorsed in 2005 and continue to monitor and update zero waste indicators, objectives and goals.
Support innovative and environmentally sustainable waste reduction, elimination and diversion programs in collaboration with community stakeholders and the private sector to achieve our zero waste goal. The municipality will use tools (including policy, bylaws, bans, licensing requirements and fees) to encourage zero waste.
Ensure land use decisions can accommodate facilities for evolving extended producer responsibility programs.
Require new development or redevelopment to incorporate waste infrastructure and management plans, which minimize waste, support recycling and use alternative and evolving methods of waste diversion.
Require new development or redevelopment to implement waste management programs to reduce waste during land clearing, demolition and construction.
Until our resort community achieves our zero waste goal, select solid waste disposal technologies that minimize environmental impact (specifically including air quality).
Provide for centralized community drop-off facilities for domestic solid waste disposal, recycling and composting at the locations shown in Schedule D.
Evaluate and support implementation of efficient and convenient methods to deposit solid waste, recyclables and compost for people using preferred modes of transportation. Ensure that the available methods are well-communicated to local residents.
Operate a solid waste transfer station and drop-off facility that meets the waste disposal needs of the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors (including recycling, compost and landfill waste) at the location identified in Schedule D.
Continue to operate a regional composting facility at the location shown in Schedule D to process compostable materials generated in the Sea to Sky corridor.
Manage solid waste in accordance with the Regional Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan (specifically including the best practice of regional alignment of solid waste signage).
Collaborate with regional and provincial agencies and stakeholders regarding zero waste issues locally and regionally. Successful actions will be shared to build capacity and foster partnerships. The municipality will continue to advocate to senior levels of government for new Extended Producer Responsibility programs and improvements to existing programs.
Encourage the use of the Re-Use-It Centre and the Re-Build-It Centre for the reuse of consumer goods and building materials.
Develop new waste management policies, plans and systems using zero waste goals and hierarchy to set priorities.
12.4. Goal Ensure Whistler is adequately serviced with telecommunications and energy services in a way that minimizes environmental and resort community impacts.
Support the provision of a full range of high quality energy and telecommunications offerings to support community livability and economic viability, while minimizing costs and potential resort community and environmental impacts resulting from infrastructure installation and usage.
Use BC Hydro as the primary supplier of electrical energy within Whistler, while considering electrical generation facilities that are aligned with other policies in this OCP (particularly in Chapter 7: Natural Environment and Chapter 10: Climate Action and Energy) and do not impose negative impacts on the resort community.
Discourage the use of exterior propane tanks to provide gas for interior cooking and heating in the resort core areas.
Encourage choice in telecommunications for residents and visitors, provided that the number of service providers and the impacts of their infrastructure do not degrade livability or the resort experience, or increase costs to the municipality.
Recover costs from energy and telecommunications providers taking into consideration actual ongoing costs to the municipality to ensure that telecommunications providers install, maintain, operate and renew their infrastructure within public lands.
Protect the resort community’s aesthetics by discouraging new overhead telecommunications and electrical energy installations within Whistler.
Partner with provincial agencies and regulators to discourage any new overhead telecommunications and electrical energy installations within Whistler.
12.5. Goal Whistler’s drainage systems meet all applicable standards and replicate natural systems, as much as possible. Whistler’s drainage systems ensure the safety and protection of people, property and infrastructure from floods, and are maintained in a cost-effective, reliable manner that minimizes or eliminates environmental impacts.
Maintain and develop drainage systems to service planned development in a manner that is compatible with the environmental sensitivities of Whistler’s natural areas, meets regulatory obligations and sets standards consistent with Whistler’s move toward sustainability.
Ensure all development is protected from flood hazards to the standards accepted by the Province and the consulting engineering community.
Collaborate with federal and provincial organizations on evolving standards (including climate change) for the operation, maintenance, renewal and restoration of flood-protection infrastructure.
Implement drainage volume reduction measures, including through the replication or enhancement of natural hydrological systems.
Implement drainage systems that use environmental stewardship best practices.
Identify and protect natural areas that mitigate flooding based on revised municipal flood hazard and risk mapping that incorporates the Community Energy and Climate Action Plan climate change modelling.