PURPOSE OF THE OCP
The purpose of this Official Community Plan (OCP) is to establish policies that guide decisions on community planning and land use management for the Resort Municipality of Whistler (the municipality) over the next five to 10 years and beyond. The OCP also contains a renewed Community Vision for Whistler that articulates the high level aspirations for our resort community, describing what we collectively seek to achieve now and over Whistler’s long-term future. The renewed Community Vision is included within this plan to reinforce the important role of the OCP in pursuing the vision, and to better integrate the vision with supporting municipal policies.
Words that appear in italics are defined in the Definitions section of Chapter 14: Administration and Interpretation. The names of provincial and federal legislation are also italicized.
Our Community Vision is contained in its entirety in Chapter 2; its essence is captured in the following statements:
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.
Municipalities in British Columbia are given the authority to adopt an OCP under the Local Government Act. Additionally, Whistler is required to have an OCP under the Resort Municipality of Whistler Act. As required in the Local Government Act, this plan addresses land use, infrastructure, housing, natural hazards, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets, preservation of environmentally sensitive areas, and aggregate (sand and gravel) resources; and contains a regional context statement. This OCP also addresses social and environmental issues and site-specific development controls in the form of development permit area designations and guidelines—content that the Local Government Act indicates municipalities may include in an OCP. Further, this OCP has been extensively updated to recognize and integrate the interests of our First Nations partners in Whistler’s future, in a way that recognizes reconciliation and seeks to achieve our common values and mutual best interests, including the Nations’ economic development interests.
This OCP is a statutory policy document adopted by bylaw that guides the actions of the municipality. All bylaws enacted or works undertaken by municipal Council after adoption of this OCP must be consistent with this OCP. The OCP does not affect existing zoning of land, however, future zoning changes and other bylaw amendments must be consistent with the OCP. Development permit requirements within the OCP have an immediate effect.
Consistent with the desires of the community expressed through the preparation of this OCP, this OCP is not intended to be revised on a frequent basis. However, individual changes may be warranted from time to time, so it must be expected that revision will occur. Like the community, the OCP must be flexible in responding to changing conditions and new community-supported opportunities. To ensure fulfilment of the principles of Whistler’s Community Vision and this plan, the results of this OCP and the relationship of its policies to realities in the community will be routinely measured and monitored using the more than 90 indicators that are tracked on an annual or as available basis. To view the full list of indicators, performance data and more information about the monitoring program, visit www.whistler.ca/municipal-gov/community-monitoring.
Whistler’s OCP was last comprehensively updated in 1993. A new OCP, which has been used as a framework for this OCP, was adopted in 2013 after a comprehensive community planning process. Provincial approval of the 2013 OCP was later struck down by the B.C. Supreme Court, after the court found that the Province’s consultation with First Nations prior to provincial approval of the OCP was inadequate. Since then, the municipality has been working with the Lil’wat Nation, the Squamish Nation and the Province to incorporate principles of reconciliation in the OCP, establish policies for improved working relations, increase the cultural presence of First Nations and consider the Nations’ economic development interests in the future of Whistler. This process has taken time, and in that time the community has continued to evolve and respond to ever-changing external factors. This updated plan builds on the original 2013 OCP update, providing an improved framework for working with the First Nations, and a renewed Community Vision that reflects new current realties and policy directions that have been developed over the past five years.