'Welcome to Whistler' sign moves south 

Council news: Chateau serves longer, transit network future and daycare support

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Whistler council wants to make an entrance — an entrance to town let tingguests know they have arrived in one of the premier mountain resorts.

Having approved the Whistler Gateway Project in the municipality's Five Year Financial Plan, council is now moving ahead with the first step in that project, moving the "Welcome to Whistler" sign south on the highway.

The brown and white sign will be reinstalled at a site north of the Brandywine Creek bridge and south of Callaghan Valley Road, still within Whistler's boundary to the south.

"Highway 99 is the gateway to Whistler and relocating the sign is the first step in improving the arrival experience for resort visitors," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. "Council had expressed a desire to enhance Whistler's entrance from the south, and I am happy to see this project moving forward."

The Gateway project has a budget of roughly $100,000.

This initial work will include building a concrete base for the sign, and installing new electrical service and banners at the new location. The work, which is weather dependent, is scheduled to be finished by Dec. 20. In the spring, staff will finish off the site with stone cladding of the concrete base and modest landscaping.

In 2014 other items are proposed, including more landscaping and remediation at several south sites along Highway 99.

Chateau gets longer liquor service

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is extending its liquor service hours throughout its operations, from the golf course clubhouse to the Mallard Bar and all its hotel restaurants.

The goal, according to the council report from municipal planner Frank Savage, is to "better serve international and North American visitors and residents of Whistler and the surrounding area."

Council approved the extensions at Tuesday's regular meeting.

Now liquor sales at the golf course clubhouse are from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. — two hours earlier in the morning, and one hour later in the evening, Monday through Sunday.

The extensions now apply to the food primary licenses in the hotel — the Wildflower Restaurant, the Grill Room, the Woodlands Terrace and all of the banquet rooms and foyer areas.

"The extension of liquor service hours will have benefits to the community in that it will provide employment opportunities and also provide a source of tax revenue for the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Provincial and Federal Government," wrote Susan Mander, licensing specialist with Rising Tide Consultants in her letter to the municipality. "It will further diversify this luxurious hospitality venue nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain."

The Mallard Bar will also now open two hours earlier on Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. On Sunday, the Mallard will serve liquor from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., two hours earlier, and one hour later.

Whistler supports $10/day daycare, in principle

Whistler council is adding its voice to the growing chorus of support for the $10 a Day Child Care Plan.

The plan, which was presented to council by Sharon Gregson of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. and Early Childhood Educators, was supported in principle at Tuesday's meeting.

The plan is a solution to the current childcare crisis in B.C. with too few spaces in programs, high fees and low wages. For example, in 2010 the funding per regulated space was $2,341 in B.C. compared to the Canada-wide average of $3,792.

The plan calls for the Ministry of Education to be responsible for a system of community-based early care and learning and school age programs for children from birth to 12 years. To fulfill this new mandate, the ministry would need to establish an Early Care and Learning Division with responsibility for stable funding, transition planning, licensing and regulatory frameworks, and workforce development.

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