Whistler: Pioneering Sustainability

I was in Whistler this weekend for a conference hosted by the ICSC. I’m so glad that I decided to attend (alone!) because I learned a lot and it was a good way for me to meet people in the real estate industry and a valuable experience simply to observe how professionals in that industry interacted. Note to self: journey outside of your comfort zone more often!

On the way up to Whistler, although I have been passenger and even driven along the Sea-to-Sky Highway myself many times, the beauty of the route never ceases to take my breath away. We are so lucky to live where we live – surrounded by mountains, bodies of water, and dense greenery. It’s so cliché but that phrase on our B.C. license plates are bang-on.

Last term, I took a course called Sustainable Real Estate (Comm 486L) with Mark Monroe and we discussed in class Whistler’s pursuit of conserving its world-class resort status and ensuring that the resort municipality has a sustainable future. The Whistler Centre for Sustainability is one initiative to also extend the first-hand knowledge that the community has experienced to other communities in Western Canada. It’s an example of a consultant firm in the form of a “non-enterprising non-profit” with a mission that is clearly centered on sustainability and – something that goes hand-in-hand for many communities – tourism. For such municipalities, initiatives to minimize negative environmental impact and promote a lifestyle that leans a little more radically in the eco-conscious scale is integral to economic viability.

I wish I had a chance to stop by the Centre and see what projects they’re working on right now!