The municipality is looking to update its 17-year-old Recreation and Leisure Master Plan to establish priorities for the resort’s park, trail and recreation facilities for the next decade.
“It’s time to take stock of where we are, what we’ve got, and plan for the future,” said Martin Pardoe, the municipal manager of resort parks planning at last Tuesday’s (Feb. 19) council meeting. “The 1996 plan is largely implemented and somewhat out-of-date.”
The current plan contains no mention of the resort’s recreation facilities and programs, and municipal staff are looking to align it with incoming senior documents like Whistler’s Official Community Plan.
A cross-departmental team was created to produce the plan, which will be devised in several phases. The team will send out online questionnaires to community partners, stakeholders and service providers with an interest in recreation and leisure, and will conduct in-person interviews with officials from the SLRD, Pemberton, Squamish and groups like Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program and others, to get a sense of “how they can enhance the resort’s recreation and leisure assets,” said Pardoe.
Rounding out the community engagement phase, the municipality expects to present its initial findings and provide direction for the drafting of the recreation plan sometime in early spring.
After hearing the public’s suggestions, staff will consider potential recreation asset’s based on several criteria: its community and economic value, whether the asset currently exists in the resort, current trends, its availability in the private sector and other factors.
“We also believe there’s genuine opportunities to expand sports tourism,” said Pardoe, “and this is a Council Action Plan deliverable designed to help better position the resort for economic success.”
Staff will then present its initial draft findings and prepare final documents for adoption after input from council, the Economic Partnership Initiative Committee, the Recreation and Leisure Advisory Committee and the public. The July 2 council meeting is being targeted for the plan’s adoption, an ambitious timeline for Coun. John Grills.
“With the volume of work to be done, not to slow anything down, but it seems like a very aggressive timeframe, four months, to accomplish this,” he said during the council meeting.
Pardoe assured council that his team have done all the necessary background research and have worked diligently to identify the next steps in the process with the goal of a July adoption.
He added that his team will be looking at similar recreation facilities and assets in communities throughout B.C. as well as other resorts across North America during the drafting of the plan.