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Another busy summer expected in Whistler

First look: Council to consider budget amendment for summer 2021 ops
Rainbow park April 2021
As warm weather returns to the Whistler Valley, the Resort Municipality of Whistler is preparing for summer crowds on par with—or exceeding—what was seen in 2020.

Whistler’s mayor and council will consider a budget amendment on Tuesday that will help pay for 2021 summer operations.

“Visitor volumes in 2021 are expected to meet or exceed 2020 levels,” reads a report to council.

“The Summer Experience Plan represents a comprehensive approach to maintaining COVID safety while addressing the capacity challenges associated with this outcome.”

The total value of the 2021 Summer Experience Plan—first outlined in a presentation on March 16—is just over $1.7 million, with about two thirds already covered under the current budget.

A further $464,315 will be covered using the Festivals, Events & Animation budget, leaving $234,678 in new spending.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) expects much of that to be recovered via the introduction of pay parking at four parks: Rainbow, Lakeside, Alpha and Wayside (rates will be in line with the Day Lots).

Grant funding from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative could further offset between $200,000 and $250,000, though the RMOW isn’t budgeting for that just yet.

With all of that in mind, the net new spending anticipated in Tuesday’s budget amendment is just under $5,000.

Other proposals in the 2021 summer plan include regular shuttles to Rainbow Park (with stops at Meadow Park and the Rainbow Lake Trailhead) operating out of the Day Lots; privately-operated bike rentals; expanded bike valet services; enhanced animation to help disperse crowds throughout the valley; and an increase to washroom facilities, garbage and compost bins, food service and park hosts.

Tuesday’s budget amendment bylaw (which is slated for first three reads) shifts spending for other projects, too: $1 million to upgrade a section of Valley Trail and add lighting in Alta Vista; $165,859 for snowmaking infrastructure in Lost Lake Park (bolstering a $750,000 grant); $20,000 to accommodate staff changes in the planning department; and $100,000 to pay for work tied to two Union of BC Municipalities grant applications (the work will only go ahead if the applications are successful).

Council will also consider first three readings for Whistler’s 2021 property tax bylaw at Tuesday’s meeting, which calls for a 1.08-per-cent increase—a move that will lead to higher tax increases in the coming years.

Tuesday’s agenda is a busy one, as council will also hear presentations on the cross-connection control program and a new climate advocacy campaign; consider third reading for a new Whistler Mountain Ski Club cabin; and consider awarding contracts for the Alta Lake Sewer extension, Alta Vista Services Upgrade Project, and a sewer lift station odor control project.

Find the full agenda and a link to tune in live here.

Pick up next week’s Pique or head to piquenewsmagazine.com for more from council.