AWARE/Whistler Centre for Sustainability All Candidates Forum

 

It was an interesting night. I thought it would be useful to post the text from my opening 3 min stump speech from last night, so here it is:

I have enjoyed serving our community these last 3 years. Thank-you for that privilege.

From an environmental point of view I think our greatest successes this term have come by staying the course. Specifically we have continued to focus development in locations where there is existing density. The highest profile example is our decision on the Whistler International Campus. As exciting as the concept of a university in our community is… it didn’t make sense in that location. As a council we didn’t need to go far to find out why. Community members, guiding documents and previous councils agreed that this was not the proposal and that was not the place. It was a lot of work to understand the proposal in depth but in the end I felt like I wasn’t making a decision as much as I was voicing the decision of our community.

Going forward I think we need to be more creative and focus on some big ideas. Our hosts at the Whistler Centre of Sustainability have been doing a lot of work promoting the growth of a local and regional economy for our Corridor. I think this is an important effort. When economies are regional they retain developed wealth and can see and address impacts more directly. Retained wealth means Whistler has the tools to invest socially. Addressing impacts more directly means our environment is protected. In short I would like to see our community (council but also the community at large) consider implementing some policies and programs that build a more regional economy. By necessity we will need to work with our neighboring communities but that build our capacity as well.

Another example of an opportunity to think big is transit. This term our Transit Management Advisory focused on the basics. We looked at routes, schedules and funding. We got some very simple wins… nothing too exciting but important. This term I think we should focus on big ideas that will drive ridership. The carbon wins of increased ridership are a really big deal. I’d like to deliver an app that shows your buses location in real time. I would like to work with Whistler-Blackcomb, the Chamber and Tourism Whistler on a big community initiative to drive ridership.

This is the best place in the world. Thanks for your work to keep it that way.