With a glowing smile MP John Weston announced Tuesday night that Kokannee Crankworx bike festival, the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, and Whistler's public library have received almost $5 million in government grants and loans.
"I can only say that the relationship between your council and my office and the government has been excellent, and we see time and again good results like this," Weston said at Tuesday's council meeting. "It is just an honour to serve Whistler as your Member of Parliament. Keep up the good work."
The Whistler Public Library received $4,040,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Green Municipal Fund. About $500,000 is in the form of a grant and $3.5 million is a loan. The monies were made possible through an endowment by the federal government.
Meanwhile, Crankworx and the World Ski and Snowboard Festival both received funds from Industry Canada's Marquee Tourism program this year. Crankworx received $170,000, and the ski and snowboard festival got $330,000.
"We are really excited to have this funding accessible to use to do some great things with the festivals in the future," said Sue Eckersley, president of Watermark Communications Inc., the company behind TWSSF.
"Equally important, it is nice to be recognized through Industry Canada's Marquee Tourism Program."
Whistler highway to be repaved
The provincial government will repave Highway 99 between Function Junction and the village, Harry Kim, the municipality's general manager of environmental services, announced this week.
Funding has been approved and the Ministry of Transportation's construction crews should start work in July.
"I have confirmation from the ministry that the work is going ahead," said Kim at Tuesday's council meeting.
Work will take place at night, like stating after 9 p.m. and continuing until the morning hours, said Kim.
The six to eight week project will see a total resurfacing on the stretch of highway, including upgrades to deteriorating sections, repainting and establishing bike lanes and bus pull outs.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ken Melamed acknowledged the work could have some impact on summer business.
"Normally we would have consulted with the Ministry of Transportation about the best times to do work, and we in the past have been able to work out such a schedule outside of our high summer season to protect the business interests of the resort," said Melamed.
"In the absence of that, it looks like the Ministry of Transportation has recognized that factor, and Mr. Kim suggested that work won't commence until 9 p.m at night, but that will still have some impact on travel and effective resort experiences."
Fireworks, dragon boats coming
Municipal staff released more details about the planned community celebration for the July 1-4 weekend.
Among the items on the schedule are free concerts, dragon boat races, fire works, LUNA Fliks showcases and the B.C. Bike Race finish. A community performance by a group like Soul Funktion or the neighbouring First Nations is also on the entertainment roster.
Partners working with the municipality to plan the $96,000 party include the Whistler Arts Council, Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, the Whistler 2010 Sports Legacies and Whistler Adaptive Sports Program.
Watermain for Baxter Creek draws heat
Both Mayor Ken Melamed and Councillor Eckhard Zeidler made it clear Tuesday night they are concerned about the environmental impacts of the watermain route planned for the Baxter Creek development.
According to the latest plans presented by developer Bethel Land Corporation, the watermain will snake through a piece of forested land owned by the municipality to connect the new residential neighbouhood to the main water supply.
"I am going to need more information," said the mayor about the possible watermain route.
"My first reaction to this was no way... I don't want to hear that it is cheaper and easier for Baxter because our experience and our learning is that environmental mitigation is a second choice to preservation."
His motion for more information from staff passed in a 4-3 vote, with opposition from Councillors Chris Quinlan, Ralph Forsyth and Grant Lamont.
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