Maxed Out 

Orwell meets Mies van der Rohe

By G.D. Maxwell

Less is more. Small is beautiful. Money for nothing. Chicks for free.

Nice thoughts. All nice thoughts. Orwellian, but nice.

And let’s be honest, totally out of step with who we are and what we’ve become. Well, except for the money for nothing, chicks for free part. But then, Orwell didn’t play rock ’n’ roll.

Any illusions that less is more or small is beautiful owe their existence more to old books, fading memories, bad drugs or total psychosis than they do to the realities of the 21 st century. If you even recognize the thoughts and wonder if they have any currency, a walk down Lake Placid Road should put them to rest.

It’d been a long time since I’d wandered down that Creekside street, almost a decade since I’d lived there for a season and nearly that long since I’d ventured further than Hoz’s or Alpha Park. Having done so earlier this week, I’m not sure if I owe the movers and shakers behind Nita Lake Lodge an apology exactly, but I may have been wrong about how out of place and out of scale their proposal is.

While I still harbour serious reservations about commercial development and redevelopment on the shores of Whistler’s lakes, I’m not certain a four-storey, 80 room hotel is as out of character as I’d imagined, given what I saw. Hell, given what I saw, I’m not sure an 80 storey hotel would be entirely out of character. Now that would be a Gateway to Whistler, wouldn’t it?

Ten years ago, the lower end of Lake Placid was mostly dirt. The couple of Lincoln Log homes slowly taking shape looked laughably out of keeping with the rest of what was down there but their numbers were few and at least one of them gave the appearance of financial distress and held out the possibility of never being finished.

Ironically, they still look a bit out of place. The main difference is they look out of place because they may have been the last structures built there with even a passing nod to less is more, small is beautiful. The subdivision of log McMansions grown up around them with their urban landscaping look like an arms race run amok. More is more, large is beautiful, anything over a mouthful is… bonus, dude.

Yet, even they look diminutive and must be causing their once-proud owners measurable social shrinkage in the large shadow cast by the bizarre development at Kasa Kerfoot. One can only hope the landscape contractors are force-feeding the wall-o’-trees hedge a steroidal brew of growfast juice. Out of sight will never be out of mind but out of sight will be a vast improvement.


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