Commercial core approved for Rainbow neighbourhood 

49 WHA units, grocery store and other commercial get green light

click to enlarge FINAL PLANS Three buildings with underground parkade bring commercial hub to northern neighbourhood.
  • FINAL PLANS Three buildings with underground parkade bring commercial hub to northern neighbourhood.

Council has given the green light for the mixed commercial/residential development at the heart of Rainbow.

A three-building proposal that will see more than 21,000 square feet of commercial space and 46,000 square feet of residential apartment units was moved ahead at Tuesday's meeting, five years after the Rainbow zoning was first approved.

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said it was great to see the project back before council; it was rejected a year ago when the proponents asked for an increase to the zoning.

She said Whistler will "finally see that ugly hole at the beginning of the neighbourhood filled in."

She later added: "It's going to be a good addition to the neighbourhood, I think."

Newly promoted director of planning Mike Kirkegaard explained the complexities of the steep site, rising up 45 feet to the west and 50 feet to the rear.

"A difficult site to work with," said Kirkegaard.

"The focus was to reduce the apparent mass."

The building located in the middle of the site will have a grocery store on the ground level and apartments above. The building to the south will be strictly residential, while the building to the north will again be mixed — commercial on the ground with zoning potential for a café/doctors office/pharmacy — and residential above.

The plans include: two one-bedroom units, 37 two-bedroom units, four two-bedroom plus den units and six two-storey units.

Unit pricing will be developed in consultation with a quantity surveyor and will be submitted to the WHA for review prior to the building permit application.

The landscaping will also address the design objectives of the site as being a place for the local community to meet and feel connected to the neighhourhood. There will be outdoor spaces for residents and shoppers and a municipal park is planned for the adjacent site.

Kirkegaard told council that the applicants are keen to move ahead with the project this spring.

The Rainbow plans also include two large lots that are slated to be developed for seniors housing. At a January council meeting, it was suggested that planning on those sites would be able to move forward once commercial plans at Rainbow were finalized.

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