Residents rally amid development concerns 

One owner of "orphan lot" calls out neighbours for NIMBYism

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Alpine Meadows residents turned out Tuesday night to voice their concerns about plans to rezone four lots high above the neighbourhood.

In addition to discharging the old Land Use Contract (LUC) on the four mountain lots and rezoning them RS1 like other homes in Alpine, local developer Craig Ross is also looking for approval for a subdivision that would get the ball rolling on development of one of the LUC lots.

But nearby residents are worried about how it may impact their homes.

"We have no one to even sue if they harm us, harm our loved ones or harm our homes," said Alpine resident Eli Borodow, referring to the practice of using numbered companies to protect assets in the event of a lawsuit.

He was speaking out at Tuesday's public hearing, which drew a packed house.

One critical issue is access to the steep lots, the same issue that has plagued the properties for roughly four decades, as only Paul Bragg knows too well.

He has owned Lot 32 for 15 years and spoke of the long history of conflict among the owners of what he called the four "orphan lots."

"My first reaction tonight in listening to my neighbours' oppositions is that is a classic case of their backyard for sure," said Bragg, referring to NIMBYism or "Not In My Backyard." And while he was sympathetic to those concerns he added: "It doesn't seem... fair that these lots should never be developed because of these concerns. There should be a solution."

High on the list of concerns about the rezoning, however, was the potential impacts on the properties below.

Borodow specifically highlighted how disruption of the water table above could adversely effect the foundation of his home.

"I'm really hoping that you're going to put us first and not put these developers first," he told council.

"To me this is a test to this council."

He wasn't alone. Dr. Bernadette Yuan, another neighbour, also raised her concerns, both in a letter and speaking out at Tuesday's public hearing.

"Our concerns are multiple and include concerns regarding the grade of the access road, snow removal and water drainage, and retention of very large, steep land cuts — all these factors put our property at risk..." said Yuan.

She asked for more detailed engineering studies and plans to address those concerns.

Former councillor Caroline Lamont, speaking on behalf of the developer, outlined that a number of Land Use Contracts have been discharged over the years.

"There are property rights to these properties right now," she added.

As for the water, fire access and grade concerns, she said: "We have municipal requirements and those would be met."

Council did not give the bylaw third reading, keeping with the practice of holding off on a decision if the public hearing draws concerns.

Musical grooves under review

The municipality is looking into the potential of the "rOde to Joy" — a new concept that would see grooves in the highway designed to play Beethoven on the way into Whistler. Rather than the drone of rumble strips, these grooves, if spaced and measured correctly, could sound like the familiar classical tune.

"Imagine this masterpiece resonating through the vehicle as you enter Whistler," said Ian MacDonald, who brought the concept to council Tuesday night. Similar grooves have been used on roads in Korea, Japan, Denmark and California.

He encouraged council to think of the marketing potential of the initiative and also for a six-month support of the concept while he investigated further. However, the former businessman and Emily Carr student said he had "no idea" how much the project would cost.

Councillor Andrée Janyk asked if the grooves would stand up to snow ploughs.MacDonald has yet to investigate that.

Council did not make a decision at Tuesday's meeting, referring the matter to staff for review.

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