Special daytime council meeting to be called for Grade 5 students in 2016 

Council briefs: development gets green light; GLC gets new canopy; WB smoking ban applauded

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ALISON TAYLOR - TOP OF THE CLASS This year's Mayor for the Day Abbey Mellor (right), seen here with her sister Mallory and Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, has asked the RMOW to hold council during the day next year so all of Grade 5s can attend and learn about local government.
  • photo by alison taylor
  • TOP OF THE CLASS This year's Mayor for the Day Abbey Mellor (right), seen here with her sister Mallory and Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, has asked the RMOW to hold council during the day next year so all of Grade 5s can attend and learn about local government.

Council will hold a special council meeting during the day next year to allow Grade 5 students to attend and learn about local government.

The move comes at the request of Grade 5 Spring Creek Elementary student Abbey Mellor who was chosen as "Mayor for the Day" on Tuesday, based on her letter to the mayor. Mellor chose her sister Mallory to join her for the day as her press secretary.

In her letter to the mayor, Abbey had several suggestions outlining what she would do as mayor. Among them was creating a photo gallery page on the municipal website to allow people to upload their photos of wildlife. She also suggested creating a zipline from Creekside, where she lives, to Spring Creek, where she goes to school.

But it was the idea of having a daytime council meeting to allow students to attend that grabbed the most attention. Council voted on the suggestion at Tuesday's evening meeting.

"It passed," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden to Abbey after the unanimous vote. "That's great."

Press secretary Mallory also announced at the meeting that the Great Lawn at Whistler Olympic Plaza is now officially open for the summer.

Difficult undeveloped lot gets green light

A developer has found a creative way to build three new single-family homes in Alpine Meadows, and council is receptive to the concept.

After a long and contentious public hearing last year, there is a new solution on the table aimed at addressing concerns from neighbours and paving the way forward for the Mountainview Drive development.

At the heart of the issue are four parcels of undeveloped land above Mountainview Drive. They are called Lot 29, 30, 31 and 32. They are difficult-to-access lots, governed under the Land Use Contract (LUC).

"These large lots were created in 1973, and continue to be undeveloped due to access issues limited by the narrow panhandle accesses and steep terrain," stated the staff report to council.

The solution on the table deals with just Lot 29 and two other lots on the street level — Lots P and Q — all owned by the same developer.

The solution includes combining the street lots P and Q to build the road to the steeper lot above, and building three single-family homes in a unique subdivison over the three lots.

Lots 30, 31, and 32, however, remain undeveloped and still under the LUC, primarily because the owners cannot come to an agreement on access to the site.

"It has been quite complicated," said Councillor John Grills. "To my mind, the Lot 29 owner has secured Lot P and Q and has really done a lot of work.

"It would be nice if all four (upper lots) were in at once.

"(But) it's time to move forward."

On Tuesday, council gave third reading to discharge the LUC on Lot 29 and rezone it to RS1.

The LUC allows one residential building per lot up to 2,500 square feet. Most of the other homes in the area are no longer under the LUC, rezoned instead to RS1, which permits much larger homes — up to 3,500 or 5,000 square feet depending on the parcel size and frontage.

Under this rezoning there will be a statutory right of way to access the remaining three upper lots.

GLC to get new patio canopy

Whistler Blackcomb has council approval to move ahead with upgrades to the GLC patio, including a large, permanent canopy.

This is the second time the design has come to council after being rejected in August, primarily over concerns about the shadow it would create on Skier's Plaza.

The 203-square-metre permanent canopy has been reduced in height from five metres to 3.3 metres, with a view to limiting shadow impacts.

And so, the latest design is a 30-per-cent reduction in shadow impacts from the previous design overall, and a 65-per-cent reduction on the impacts on the Carleton Lodge patio.

"This is a 100-per-cent improvement over the design we saw before," said a pleased Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

Councillor Sue Maxwell said she was pleased to see Whistler Blackcomb move away from propane heaters to infrared, but she also wants Whistler to consider other ways to keep people warm outside — providing blankets and chairs without holes in their backs.

Going forward she added: "We do want to try not to encourage people to be heating the outdoor space so much."

Kudos for smoking ban

Councillor Andrée Janyk personally thanked Whistler Blackcomb publicly for recently banning smoking on the mountains.

"I think it's a really incredible move," said the longtime ski instructor, on the heels of two letters to council also commending the company.

"Personally I'll say it's greatly appreciated."

Judging from the letters, Wilhelm-Morden pointed out that there may be a misperception that Whistler, the municipality, banned smoking.

People, she added, may be disappointed to learn that there is still smoking in town, albeit with restrictions.

"I think we're looking at perhaps fixing that," she hinted.

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