Tempest brewing over TCUPs 

Information meeting on Dec. 9; bylaw public hearing Dec. 15

Next month, business owners and residents can give their two cents on a blanket bylaw that will govern temporary commercial uses during the 2010 Olympics.

If approved, the temporary commercial use permit (TCUP) bylaw will let property owners lease to groups like VANOC until June 1, 2010 for irregular uses.

For example if restaurant operators wanted to close their doors between February and March 2010 and rent the space to a retail company, they would need a TCUP.

Or, if VANOC wanted to put a 5,000 square foot merchandise tent on a golf course, they would also need to get a TCUP from the municipality.

The bylaw has already received first and second reading from the last council, and the public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at MY Millennium Place.

Along with commercial spaces, the bylaw could also affect accommodation during the Games.

“What the Local Government Act says is on application by an owner of land, a local government may — not shall — issue a temporary commercial or industrial permit,” said Bill Brown, manager of community planning for the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

“The planning department will provide all the assistance in helping applicants understand the process, but we are not out there as an advocate for anybody,” he added.

The bylaw is being enacted to prepare for the large number of temporary uses that VANOC and other agencies require during the Olympics. Such bylaws are common in host cities.

VANOC is still hammering out what their exact needs will be for both accommodation and commercial uses. When the bylaw is finalized, details of the VANOC processes will be announced, said Jacqui Murdoch, vice president of services and accommodation for VANOC.

To apply for a TCUP, property owners will have to fill out an RMOW application form.

“It is very similar to a development permit. You submit your application form with all the supporting information and then it is processed by the municipality,” said Brown.

Brown added that the municipality will only regulate the use of property through TCUPS, not who uses the space. However the RMOW will make sure to protect renters, and plans to keep a registry of people who are afraid they might lose their accommodation during the Games.

“As long as it is a normal business transaction, we are probably not going to get involved. We are really concerned about protecting our workforce and our renters,” said Brown.

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