The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s (SLRD) guide to going green is closer to completion, but discussion at the board table Monday (Nov. 26) revolved around whether or not the four member municipalities should be required to align their own plans with it.
The board saw a draft of the SLRD’s Integrated Sustainability Plan (ISP) during Monday’s meeting, which had previously appeared in the Electoral Area Directors’ Committee (EAD) gathering earlier in November.
The EAD put forward a recommendation that SLRD municipalities provide statements indicating how they plan to align their local policies with the ISP, which was met with resistance from municipal directors.
Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden was joined by Squamish directors Patricia Heintzman and Doug Race in saying they would need their own municipal staffs and councils to review the document before voting on the recommendation, and were unsure what strain it may place on their planning departments.
“In Whistler’s case, the Whistler 2020 document has been in place for a considerable length of time,” said Wilhelm-Morden. “It was put together as a result of hundreds of thousands worth of taxpayer dollars and countless hours of community input.
“To have this resolution come along saying we have to align that now with an ISP for the regional district, I’ve got to be speaking to my planning department (before deciding).”
Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy said he thought the ISP was being developed primarily for the benefit of the four electoral areas while setting some operational guidelines for the corporation of the SLRD.
“Ideally, (municipal policies) would align, but essentially, the electoral areas should carry on if that’s what they choose,” he said.
Debbie Demare said the ISP development process has been “challenging” from her perspective, partly because the document was already in the works when she was elected Area A director last year. She told the board Monday the recommendation was put forward because the original intent of the ISP was to have it apply to the entire SLRD and not just the unincorporated areas.
“Go back and read the document — it’s intended as a regional document, not as a document for the four electoral areas,” she said. “Should you come back and say ‘We can’t do this, it’s too much work, it will take too long,’ then that document will need to be revised to reflect that it’s strictly for the electoral areas and it’s not a regional ISP.”
SLRD staff noted that the board will have a committee of the whole session with ISP developers from the Whistler Centre for Sustainability in January, at which time the plan’s implications will be discussed in greater detail. That prompted the board to table the recommendation until learning more about how the plan will apply to all communities.