While much of the discussion concerning the enhanced rezoning for the Northlands development north of Whistler Village has been focused on recreation amenities, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is hoping to broaden the discourse before a related survey closes on Monday, July 19.
“We want to just be sure that in this discussion, and in this process, we’re capturing a really broad perspective from the community. I think that it’s really, truly important to hear from everyone,” said general manager of resort experience Jessie Gresley-Jones.
When it comes down to it, the enhanced rezoning process is about building a new neighbourhood, Gresley-Jones said.
“I think it is easy to get excited and passionate about the potential for an amenity to be delivered as part of this process, but ultimately we’re building a new neighbourhood that’s going to shape Whistler for the coming decades, and that’s a huge deal for the community,” he said.
“And I think we want to make sure that everyone is excited about that, and that we’re getting a representative cross-section of the community.”
While there is still lots of discussion about the tennis amenity first proposed for the lands in 1988, “what is quite interesting to think about, and we need the community to really think about, is what has changed in Whistler since 1988,” Gresley-Jones said.
The community has hosted the Olympics and transformed itself into a true four-season destination resort since then, and with that have come new challenges around housing and overtourism.
“Ensuring we shape this to be a resilient, sustainable site that meets our future objectives, those pieces are incredibly important in a process like this, and a project that is so significant in size, scale, and ideal location,” Gresley-Jones said, adding that municipal staff need to keep fiscal responsibility and the greater needs of Whistler as a whole at the forefront of the discussion.
“And those are not easy conversations to have,” he said. “They are going to be challenging and opinionated over the coming months, but I think we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t dive in to really understanding the gaps in our community and what is going to benefit the greatest number of people living in Whistler.”
Once the first round of public engagement closes, RMOW staff will identify key themes—like housing, recreation or connection to the existing village, for example—before developing a framework to start moving forward with design concepts.
“We’ll do another full round of consultation around those concepts, [and] we anticipate there will be significantly more feedback at that point,” Gresley-Jones said.
“That’s when people can start to see what the site might look like. I think that’s when it gets exciting.”
Once a “preferred concept” is chosen, council can move forward with a more typical rezoning process, complete with more public engagement and a public hearing.
The full rezoning is targeted for completion in September 2022.
Find more info and take the survey here.