By Loreth Beswetherick
Equipment is expected to move on site and work is due to start on the Riverside Campground within the next few days — three years after a municipal proposal call for a camping facility.
Minor details were being ironed out earlier this week. The municipal planing department still needed a landscaping bond in hand, hoarding still had to put up to protect trees within the tree preservation covenant and an environmental monitor had to be hired by the campground proponents.
Campco Investments owns the site and will be developing the facility in three phases, the first of which is targeted for completion by November. That means 69 fully-serviced RV pads and another 40 to 50 unserviced RV sites should be available by the winter season.
Campco principal, Nigel Woods, said the summer 1999 construction schedule will also include 14 small log cabins and a main lodge building. The three-storey lodge will have one floor dedicated to administration, a convenience store, delicatessen, indoor recreation area, laundry facilities and washroom and shower facilities.
The other two floors of the lodge are earmarked for employee housing — 12 studio units and eight one-bedroom units. Woods said the one-bedroom log cabins will include kitchen and washrooms facilities.
"We will have phase one operational for the beginning of the winter season," said Woods.
Next spring Campco plans to start work on 50 to 60 tent sites which should be up and running by next summer. An 18-hole putting course will also be constructed next year.
All of the phase one construction takes place on the lower bench of the Riverside site, off Mons Road.
Phase two will have to tie in with the 2000 Ministry of Environment fisheries window and will include the construction of a bridge over Fitzsimmons Creek to connect with the benchland east of the river. Another 30 RV sites and 80 tenting sites will be constructed on the east bench. The development of this bench will see the elimination of the Centennial and Panorama trails.
A sunset clause on the campground development stipulates Campco must start construction on phase one in 1999. Construction of the first phase must be completed within 18 months of the construction start date. Phase two can be developed concurrently but, if the first phase is not completed within the 18-month deadline, the land on the east bench reverts to rural use only. Planning consultant Brigitte Loranger said the landscaping bond would be required to re-vegetate any land that had been cleared in this event.
Phase three will see the construction of a recreation building complete with swimming pool. The entire project has a maximum six-year build out period.
Woods is a partner in Campco Investments, along with the Vancouver-based International Land.
The Whistler Chamber of Commerce board of directors is now urging council to initiate a search for a second campsite. In a letter to the mayor and council, WCC president Bob Adams said the chamber is certain that by the time the first campsite is completed, "it will not begin to fill the demand."
Adams said news that an RV site can be anticipated this fall is welcome. "Telephone inquiries about camping sites and the arrivals of RVs at our Information Centre are both growing exponentially."