An employee and market housing development proposed for 2077 Garibaldi Way in Nordic is one step closer to being approved after Whistler’s mayor and council gave third reading to a pair of bylaw amendments on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The development has undergone several iterations over the years, beginning in 2017 with its original, hotly contested proposal for a four-storey, 74-unit rental apartment on the 0.88-hectare parcel. That was reduced to 48 units, before being scaled down even further.
Currently, the property is zoned for one detached dwelling with a garage and auxiliary buildings. The proposed bylaw amendments now seek to rezone the site for a multi-family development comprised of 20 townhome units—provided that the first 14 are reserved for employee housing. The developers’ rezoning application is a product of the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s (RMOW) Private Sector Employee Housing Initiative.
This latest step in the approval process comes following a public hearing in mid- December. While some of the feedback gathered during the process skewed positive, other community members voiced concerns about increased density, traffic, parking, housing tenure and affordability, environmental protections, and construction impacts.
“Many of these comments are not new and have been addressed through the design evolution, reduction in density and proposed for-purchase tenure of the employee housing,” noted a report to council. Staff did not recommend any changes to the proposed bylaws based off the public hearing.
An independent traffic study submitted as part of the proposal concluded that the development would have “little to no impact” on traffic in the area, but it did recommend that B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation review the highway intersection. “Since then, the RMOW entered into a letter of agreement with the Ministry of Transportation, wherein the ministry is funding the design improvements to provide a protected left turn onto the highway from Whistler Road,” explained manager of planning Melissa Laidlaw during the Feb. 22 council meeting.
Before council will consider adopting the bylaw amendments, the applicant must meet a handful of remaining conditions, including registering a housing agreement setting the maximum initial sales price for the employee townhouses at $559 per square foot and submitting a waste and recycling plan.
Councillor Arthur De Jong recused himself prior to the presentation and otherwise unanimous vote, citing his status as a Nordic Estates resident.
Coun. Duane Jackson, meanwhile, commended both RMOW staff and the applicant for their efforts and patience. The proposed development “has been around before this council,” he said after, adding, “Certainly, this will deliver a type of housing for families in an ownership model, close to transit, close to the village, accessible, relatively close to many trails. I think it’s a win for everyone and the design panel was happy to see it and to move forward.”