Community Conversations

irtual community meetings took place on Zoom July 14, 16, 20 and 23 to bring Whistler together to discuss COVID-19 experiences.

Throughout July, the public was invited to join four different virtual Community Conversation events that focused on the four characteristics of Whistler’s shared Vision: Sense of Place, Environment, Tourism-based Economy and Community. Mayor Jack Crompton and CAO Ginny Cullen hosted the conversations along with a guest community speaker for each characteristic. Breakout group hosts of the sessions included councillors and RMOW staff members. In total, over 250 participated in the virtual sessions, and 385 thoughts were shared on Thoughtexchange.

Highlights of the conversations included the guest speaker portion which inspired the conversations, and the breakout groups where participants were encouraged to discuss their personal experiences with COVID-19 through the lens of the specific theme for that evening. The groups where set up in a virtual roundtable format with 4 to 6 participants in each.  Participants were also asked to identify any current and future needs and opportunities they saw for each specific theme.

Guest speaker presentations

Thank you to all of the guest speakers who participated in the sessions, including Heather Paul, Mike Douglas, Danielle Kristmanson and Chris Wrightson. If you missed the live sessions, two of the speaker presentations are available on demand below.

Sense of Place with guest community speaker Heather Paul
Tuesday, July 14 (no video recording available)

Environment with guest community speaker Mike Douglas
Thursday, July 16 (no video recording available)

Tourism-based Economy with guest community speaker Danielle Kristmanson
Monday, July 20 

View the presentation video

Community with guest community speaker Chris Wrightson
Thursday, July 23

View the presentation video

Community feedback 

Thank you to all of those who were able to join the conversations and submit feedback using Thoughtexchange. Participants and those unable to attend the live sessions were asked to share their thoughts about “What are some of the things that have been top of your heart and mind during Whistler’s COVID-19 experience?” After entering thoughts, participants rated thoughts shared by others. Thoughexchange’s platform uses the ratings to determine key issues, themes and the importance of the thoughts and ideas shared with the community. 

The information collected during the virtual discussions will be used to identify and develop a shared recovery within the community. Themes and shared values, and will be part of a collective of working parts to identify how to shape Whistler’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A Recovery Working Group has been convened with a broad community scope to help guide this work, while a Social Services Recovery Working Group has also been struck.

Stay tuned for updates as this important work continues.

Heather Paul

Heather Paul has lived in Whistler for the past 22 years, intending to stay only for one season. She soon fell in love with snow, summer, and her impressions of Whistler as a community. She is currently the Executive Director at The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, a haven of history perched at the corner of Lorimer Road and Blackcomb Way. Whistler’s 2017 Citizen of the Year may be best known as a local arts advocate, Emcee, playwright and amateur actress. In 2018 Heather was named one of Mountain Life Magazine’s Top 5 Women Leaving a Lasting Imprint on Mountain Culture. She proudly lives in a WHA home with her husband Al and their 10 year old son, Colt. Though they are straddling a strata with no land of dirt for their own private play, the Paul family celebrates their youthful decision to make a life here, because the backyard acreage that is Whistler, BC, is everything these Ontario kids dreamed of: a nesting ground of adventure woven together with compassionate foresight, evolving mindsets, deeply rooted in acknowledgement, possibility, 20-centimetre-days, and joy (plus gnar, pow, and the unbeatable comradery of life).

Mike Douglas

Mike Douglas is a professional skier and filmmaker from Whistler, Canada. His work has earned him global accolades in both sport and the arts. Watching the glaciers recede near his home in BC is what opened his eyes to the destructive affects humans were having on the planet. He became an ambassador for the US-based environmental group, Protect Our Winters, in 2016 and later went on to help found the Canadian chapter of the organization. Mike has acted as Board Chair for Protect Our Winters Canada since 2018.

Danielle Kristmanson

Danielle Kristmanson is the founding partner and Creative Director at Origin, a branding, creative, content and marketing agency specializing in mountain sports and tourism. Danielle’s expertise and wealth of experience has positioned her as one of the mountain sport tourism industry’s leading brand and marketing strategists. She currently works with destinations across North America including Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb here at home, but also Squaw Valley, CA; Breckenridge, Colorado; Park City, Utah; Taos, New Mexico; Jay Peak, Vermont; and Sun Valley, Idaho. 

Chris Wrightson

Chris is the Co-Executive Director of Zero Ceiling, a Whistler-based non-profit that supports youth from the Sea to Sky and lower mainland who are experiencing homelessness.  She has worked in the non-profit sector both here, and in Australia, in the areas of program delivery, research and policy. Chris and her family moved to Whistler 8 years ago. They came for the winter, fell in love with the summer, and stayed for the community.

The RMOW uses technology such as Zoom and Thought Exchange (“engagement channels”) to help the Whistler community access municipal information easily, stay informed, express opinions on municipal and employee topics, and enter into constructive discussion.

We welcome and encourage your comments and discussion. These engagement channels provide an open forum that is respectful and courteous of all users.

ThoughtExchange is a web-based tool that allows respondents to anonymously view, comment on and rate other’s ideas in an interactive manner. As you participate using Thought Exchange, it’s important to understand:

  • Your thoughts will be shared exactly as you entered them
  • Your thoughts and ratings will be seen by other participants and will be available on this website for public review
  • We’ll keep private who shared each thought and assigned each rating.

Consequences of unacceptable behaviour
All content and user contributions must follow this Engagement Code of Conduct (the “Code of Conduct”). Comments that do not follow the Code of Conduct will be deleted. Behaviours inconsistent with the Code of Conduct will not be permitted. Those who violate the Code of Conduct will be removed and blocked from participating in the session.

Unacceptable behaviour

  • No violent, obscene, profane, hateful, or racist posts, links, or images
  • No content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, colour, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation; or any other component protected under the BC Human Rights Code
  • No comments that, at the sole discretion of the RMOW, are considered harassing, abusive, threatening, or defame any person or organization
  • No comments that are unrelated to the discussion topics
  • No solicitations, advertisements, or endorsements of any financial, commercial, or not-for-profit organizations
  • No comments promoting or opposing any person who is campaigning for election to a political office
  • No comments that suggest or encourage illegal activity or posting of material that violates copyrights or trademarks of others
  • No repetitive posts copied and pasted or duplicated

By using the RMOW’s engagement channels, you agree to the terms and conditions of the Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct is subject to amendment or modification at any time without notification.

By participating in and using the RMOW engagement channels, you consent to sharing your personal information, including, but not limited to, your name, voice, face and IP address, with the RMOW. Certain information from the Thought Exchange break-out sessions will be compiled and shared publicly, however no personal information will be published. Your personal information will be stored securely for as long as is required by law. All personal information collection, use and disclosure is through the authority of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Information Act s.26(c). If you have any questions about the collection, use or disclosure of your personal information, please contact Pauline Lysaght at or 604 935-8118 for more information.

View the RMOW’s privacy policy at

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