Creekside area undergoing significant change 

The face of Creekside has been changing the last month, and it will change even more following the Labour Day Weekend.

The Husky service station will be closed down completely as of Sept. 3, following the closure of the food store on Aug. 28.

A new Husky station, with nine gas pumps on three islands, a drive-through car wash and a larger food store with a better selection, will reopen in approximately three months.

In the meantime Whistler is left with one gas station, the Petro Canada, until the ski season starts.

The wholesale renovation of the Husky comes just as municipal work on Lake Placid Road is winding up. The road is being re-surfaced, curbs and a sidewalk added, and telephone lines buried underground as part of revitalization efforts.

The Creekside Merchants Association is celebrating the new beginning for the area with a street festival on Lake Placid Road and at Alpha Lake Park on Sept. 7. The day includes live music, a busking contest, barbecue from Dusty’s, family games and rides, interactive art workshops and more.

The municipality has for many years encouraged redevelopment along Lake Placid Road west of Highway 99, but there has been little interest to date.

However, a development application that includes a two-storey train station, 11 single family lots, commercial space and condominiums at Creekside is expected to be on Whistler Council’s agenda for its Sept. 3 meeting.

The proposal, from John Haibeck’s Nita Lake Lodge Corporation, is for a site between the current train station and Hoz’s Pub. The 11 single family lots are proposed for 23 acres between the railway tracks and Alta Lake Road.

At one time the project included a private surgical centre but that has now been scrapped and the developer has offered to make a $1 million cash contribution to the Whistler Health Care Centre. When the cash contribution was announced in July Peter Gordon, a consultant to the project, said because the project had been planned and discussed for more than a year the corporation felt it had raised the expectations for enhanced medical services in the community and would make the donation to mitigate that disappointment.

The new rail station in Haibeck’s plans is in anticipation of a new privately-operated passenger rail service to Whistler which would tap in to Vancouver’s cruise ship market and convention business.

The Haibeck proposal also includes 26 townhouse units which will be employee housing.

Meanwhile construction work will remain the main theme in the Creekside area for the next few months.

Intrawest is currently working on widening Highway 99 between Lake Placid Road and Bayshores to four lanes. The work, which was part of the Whistler South Comprehensive Development Plan approved by the municipality three years ago, will also include construction of a new section of the Valley Trail along the east side of the highway.

Eventually the Valley Trail will cross under the highway just south of the Petro Canada station, where Intrawest is currently working on realigning Whistler Creek.

The highway underpass will be built next summer. That project has been complicated by efforts to clean up a hydrocarbon plume that has, over a number of years, leaked from the Petro Canada station storage tanks. Whistler Creek will eventually flow through the underpass, but not until the plume has been cleaned up.

A spokesperson for Petro Canada said last week remediation efforts are scheduled to be completed in 2006.

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