Expansion plans for Nesters Market will go to two public information meetings, on March 15 and March 18, but Whistler councillors indicated they want to see substantial improvements in traffic flow before the plans come before them again.
The owners of Nesters Market want to double the size of the grocery store by building out over the back parking lot. The North Shore Credit Union would also open up a branch in the expanded building.
A report from municipal staff said Nesters is at a crossroads: it can expand and with that expansion would come a slight increase in parking (from the current 95 stalls to 115 stalls), or the building can remain as it is and several parking stalls will be lost.
Nesters currently uses an adjacent piece of land it doesn’t own for customer parking. If the rezoning and expansion plans are approved Nesters would buy the land.
But Councillor Ken Melamed said angle parking on Nester Road, which is currently allowed, should not be permitted.
"This is a network road, it’s not a parking lot," Melamed said. "I can’t believe council is seriously considering this. It’s just not logical, it doesn’t conform to any of our planning principles."
One of the key principles it doesn’t conform with is the new transportation strategy. Melamed said buses — which the transportation strategy emphasizes — are constantly delayed by the angle parking on Nesters Road and forced to speed elsewhere to meet their schedules.
Councillors Nick Davies, Kristi Wells and Dave Kirk all suggested Nesters expansion plans should go to a public information meeting, but they would be surprised if they came back to council without substantial changes to the present parking and transportation plans.
"This gives priority to cars, rather than traffic," Davies said.
"We have to be more creative, look at perhaps putting the loading bay at the back," Wells said.
Mayor Hugh O’Reilly noted the North Shore Credit Union will also generate employee parking issues.
Whistler Cable 6 may or may not videotape Saturday’s public meeting on the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympic bid.
A Whistler Cable employee told council Monday the company had not committed to taping the meeting. O’Reilly responded that "one way or another we’ll get it videotaped so people can see it."
The meeting, which gets underway at 3:30 p.m. in the conference centre, has been scheduled to answer local concerns about the Olympic bid. Don Caler, CEO of the 2010 Bid Corporation, will provide an update of activities, key future dates and a two-way communications/public consultation plan.
Following Calder’s presentation small, working "round table" groups will meet with facilitators to share and document thoughts and concerns. Calder, O’Reilly, Steve Podborski and others will also be available for a question and answer session.