Don’t even think about filling in those garages without building permits.
That was the message Whistler council sent at Monday’s regular meeting to residents trying to carve out extra living space from garages while avoiding taking out required building permits.
Council agreed with staff to slap a notice of contravention on title against a Tynebridge Lane property that had converted three-quarters of an attached garage to living space.
Responding to a December complaint, building inspectors gained access to the garage and confirmed the space had been converted without proper permits. The owner did not comply with formal requests to “reinstate” the garage back to original conditions and so staff presented council with a request to proceed with a title file. Such a file would not allow the property to be sold without the garage being converted back to its original purpose. The municipal building department had received more than one complaint recently about this kind of intransigent infill in Whistler.
Tilting at TILMA
Whether or not a trade agreement between Alberta and B.C. set to go into force April 1 will have an impact on Whistler’s Green dwellings initiative set off alarm bells for councillors.
Whistler Council considered a letter from Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan who warns that the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) between the two provinces will dramatically affect municipalities’ autonomy in tendering for supplies and services.
Corrigan included a staff report that said the agreement, that ostensibly is supposed to streamline trade requirements between the two provinces, will instead limit municipalities’ rights to decide what services they want to purchase and from whom. In addition, zoning changes to minimize industrial and residential interface could be affected.
Corrigan’s concerns were equally problematic for Whistler councillors who had just heard an update from planner Guy Patterson about the Whistler Green program, an initiative that aims to incorporate environmentally-friendly concepts into residential building standards.
“None of us knew anything about it (TILMA),” Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said about first hearing about the agreement last year. “We were asleep at the switch.”
Wilhelm-Morden pointed out that the agreement “was entered into by the provinces with very little consultation from any other affected levels of government or Crown corporations and is also not supported by legislation.”
During the agreement’s first two years there will be opportunity for review and Whistler will participate in that with other jurisdictions through the Union of B.C. Municipalities and endeavour to ensure that municipalities protect their right to govern, Whistler Administrator Bill Barratt said after the meeting.
More commercial use in park
A zoning amendment bylaw that will allow expanded commercial use in Lakeside Park passed third reading with none of the furor of previous meetings.
“There should be commercial uses in park amenities that make visitors’ experiences special, as well as for locals,” Mayor Melamed said.
Councillor Ralph Forsyth noted due diligence had been completed through listening to residents’ concerns about noise. Councillor Gord McKeever stressed the need for security in the park at night.
“We need to be as concerned about security in outlying areas as we do in the village,” he said.
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