Whistler has finally received a federal-provincial infrastructure grant. Problem is, it’s not the one municipal officials were asking for.
The federal and provincial governments are each providing $150,000 for a traffic signal light at Highway 99 and the entrance to Function Junction. The municipality will contribute another $150,000 from its road rehabilitation fund to cover the $450,000 the signal will cost.
However, the municipality has been asking — for the past three years — for $1 million from the federal-provincial infrastructure grant program to rehabilitate Lake Placid Road.
"It’s a Ministry of Highways project, it’s their initiative," John Nelson, Whistler’s director of public works, said of the Function Junction signal.
"I understand it will be going ahead this year."
The signal will be the sixth on Highway 99 within the Resort Municipality of Whistler. The announcement came as somewhat of a surprise to the Public Works Department, but also to the municipality’s transportation advisory group, which is working on a transportation master plan for Whistler.
As for Lake Placid Road, the municipality had budgeted $900,000 for rehabilitation work this year, regardless of whether the $1 million was coming from the federal and provincial governments.
"We’ll have to meet with Creekside property owners and businesses to discuss what to do with the $900,000," Nelson said. "We can probably do the road work with that money, but we likely won’t be able to underground the Hydro and telephone lines and other extras."
Discussions will include Intrawest, which last month outlined its redevelopment plans for the Whistler Creek area. Most of Intrawest’s work this summer will be restricted to realigning and flood-proofing Whistler Creek itself. Construction of Whistler Station won’t start until at least 1999.