New green building standards in limbo at municipal hall 

Council calls for green building standards at last meeting as the Whistler Green program sits with staff

A developer, who handed in "green" building standards to the municipality six months ago, is frustrated that council has yet to receive them from staff.

"I’m disappointed," said David Ehrhardt, a principal in the Nita Lake Lodge Development.

"It was the goal of Nita Lake to set itself apart as doing something extra and something special, moving the process to another level. And that was the reason that we originally proposed to do this."

The new environmental building standards, called Whistler Green, were designed specifically for the 14 single family home residential development on the west side of Nita Lake. The standards were part of the extensive public benefits package offered by the Nita Lake Lodge Development Corporation.

Though Whistler Green would be applied to the small residential subdivision, the ultimate goal was they could be adopted as resort-wide building standards.

"We’re talking about real implications," said Ehrhardt. "They’re just plain good building practices."

Green building standards are something council has been calling on for quite some time. At their last meeting, councillors considered delaying an Intrawest condo-hotel development in Creekside without proof the company has applied its own green standards to the development.

Club Intrawest President Jim Gibbons confirmed this week that their development on London Lane has been designed under the parameters of EcoVision, the corporate green building standards created specifically by Intrawest for their own projects.

Councillor Marianne Wade said it was a concern that Whistler Green has been at a staff level for such a long time without council having a chance to review it.

"(Staff) need to come forward and we need to adopt them and get on with it," she said simply. We need to get our house in order.

"We know that these developments are coming forward so we need to bring the policy forward so that it’s the overriding (standard) and everybody’s aware of that," she said.

Bob MacPherson, general manager of planning and development at the municipality, was one of the staff members involved in developing Whistler Green, in partnership with Nita Lake.

He said staff wanted to take a pragmatic approach and come back to council after the Whistler Green standards had been applied to the first single family homes in the Nita Lake subdivision.

"We’d hoped that there’d be some single family construction there through this year where we could test the standards and then be back to council with a little more information on what works and what doesn’t," he said.

Construction of the homes has not begun. In addition, council was not informed of staff’s intentions. However, MacPherson recognizes that there is a push to get standards developed.

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