Jim Godfrey presented with Freedom of Municipality award for applying The Natural Step Framework during Vancouver Olympics

The communities of Whistler, BC and Mayor Ken Melamed have worked closely with The Natural Step Canada over the past few years to achieve their community sustainability plan: Whistler 2020.

Jim Godfrey, the former chief administrative officer of the municipality and a Board of Directors member of VANOC, helped Whistler secure a part in the recently passed Olympics, in part due to his adoption of The Natural Step Framework as Stephen Smysnuik reports for Pique magazine.



If there is one man responsible for the success of the 2010 Winter Games in Whistler, it would probably be Jim Godfrey. The former chief administrative officer for the municipality served on the VANOC board of directors and helped secure Whistler's pivotal role in the Olympics.

It was for these reasons, and more, that council awarded Godfrey with the Freedom of the Municipality at Tuesday's council meeting.

"It goes without saying that there are few people who have the strategic ability to understand the way to get to success," said Mayor Ken Melamed before awarding Godfrey with a plaque. Approximately 20 people clapped and cheered while Godfrey went around the room and shook hands with all the councillors and staff.

In his 14 years of service for the RMOW Godfrey oversaw the development of the municipality's first long-term financial plan. He helped develop strategies to protect the natural environment and long-term plans for the resort's future success, including the first five-year plan, Whistler 2002, the Whistler Environmental Strategy, and most recently, Whistler2020.

Melamed praised Godfrey for his vision to adopt "one of the master strokes in our history," the Natural Step Framework, as the underpinning for Whistler2020, the first integrated community sustainability vision of its kind in Canada.

"We continue to receive accolades for the vision," Melamed said.

But Godfrey's most important legacy may have been his role in the Olympics. Melamed said that Godfrey's "vision and extraordinary strategic approach to hosting the best Winter Games ever" and was able to nail down a successful event and bring the 2010 Winter Games Office $3 million under budget.

"It's amazing to think back and take stock of the momentous things that occurred, and we just kept building from there," Melamed said.

The Freedom of the Resort Municipality of Whistler award is Whistler's version of the Order of Canada. It is awarded to individuals for their outstanding contributions to the community. Recipients are given voting rights in Whistler regardless of where they live.

Only eight people have received the award, including Whistler's original pioneer settler, Myrtle Philip, original council members Garry Watson, Al Raine and Pat Carleton, Franz Wilhelmsen who led the company that developed Whistler Mountain, Trevor Roote who guided the first phase of the Valley Trail and parks construction, Whistler Land Corporation Chairman Chester Johnson and former mayor Drew Meredith.

Thanks to Pique Magazine and Stephen Smysnuik.

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