Intrawest will go ahead with the Pan Pacific hotel on Lot 45 in the village this spring, but the building’s impact on pedestrian and vehicle traffic remains a concern.
Director of Public Works John Nelson raised several traffic issues when the proposal was brought to council this week, including the flow of pedestrian traffic from the day skier lots to the two gondolas, pedestrian drop off points in the area and trucks making deliveries to the new hotel.
"Pedestrian and vehicle movement is going to be changed significantly with this project," Nelson told council. "Access to the village from this point is critical."
While council members agreed with Nelson, Mayor Ted Nebbeling argued many concerns were part of a larger traffic problem and should not hold up the hotel development.
"I believe the transportation committee has to deal with some of these issues," Nebbeling said. "We’ve waited too long for this one to go sideways."
Intrawest wrote to council the previous Friday saying if some of the subject-to conditions remained construction would not begin this year.
The developers consented to allowing pedestrian drop offs in front of the hotel, to re-evaluate the delivery access and further negotiations on some other points.
The Intrawest/Pan Pacific proposal is for an eight-storey hotel with 120 luxury suites on the site which has been used as a pay parking lot. The lot has always been zoned for a hotel.
Intrawest intends to begin construction this spring and have the hotel ready for occupancy in December 1997. A second phase of development will eventually include a building to enclose Blackcomb’s Excalibur gondola, house ticket offices, guest services and other facilities. Construction of the gondola building, which could be next summer or in 1998, will also likely be when the square between the new hotel and Whistler Mountain’s Garibaldi Lift Company is completed.
With pedestrian traffic from the day skier lots having to go around the new hotel in order to reach either gondola, Intrawest has proposed a wide set of stairs to bring day skiers and pedestrians down from the berm between Blackcomb Way and the Excalibur.