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Proposed WedgeWoods expansion could see more housing built north of Whistler

Cash contribution, land donation included in developer’s housing proposal
Wedgewoods House Under Construction by Robert Wisla
Housing under construction in the WedgeWoods development north of Whistler.

More housing may soon be coming to the WedgeWoods community, 15 kilometres north of Whistler.

At the June 29 Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) board meeting, the board recommended that staff move forward with creating bylaws and a detailed review of a proposed new subdivision in WedgeWoods.

The new subdivision would add 18 new lots to the community, increasing the number of permitted lots from 108 to 126 as part of the seventh phase of the neighbourhood’s expansion.

Construction of WedgeWoods began in 2008, and was initially planned to be built in six phases constituting 108 lots, all of which have sold out.

The typical lot size allowed in the neighbourhood is half an acre, which is larger than what is permitted in Whistler. As of 2022, these lots are being sold for about $1.5 million.

Under the new proposal, six new lots would be subdivided from an existing strata lot and sold under market value to be used for affordable housing. The anticipated initial price for the lots would be about $225,000.

These non-market, for-purchase residential lots would have a minimum lot size of 0.2 hectares and be located between Highway 99 and Riverside Drive.

An SLRD staff report said staff have initiated conversations with the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) regarding potential management of the lots.**

The 12 proposed market strata lots would be extended from phase six of the development, beginning from Wedgemont Plateau Drive.

Covenants would be applied to the 12 market strata lots requiring the construction of a minimum of one auxiliary dwelling unit in a carriage home or secondary suite in the single-family dwelling for long-term rental. These secondary suites would be required to be up to 90 square metres in size.

The zoning amendment application includes a community contribution of $1.2 million to the regional district, which Area C can use as it sees fit.

The proposal also comes with a sizable land donation of 124 hectares for a future park on the west side of Highway 99, where a previous affordable housing proposal was floated but ultimately shot down in 2019.

The 2019 “WedgeWoods West” affordable housing proposal would have added 36 covenanted, non-market, for-purchase townhomes, 16 covenanted rental units, and 12 new bare land strata lots to the development, along with a donation of 120 hectares of land for a park.

SLRD directors Jack Crompton, Jen Ford, Mike Richman, Doug Race, Chris Pettingill and Vivian Birch-Jones voted against that proposal. The proposed donation of the western half of the property for parkland means that any development in WedgeWoods West is unlikely to occur in the future.

The phase seven subdivision proposal was initially brought before the regional board in September 2021, at that time proposing 10 affordable housing lots. However, these lots would have ended up under the current allowed lot size in WedgeWoods, so the subdivision proposal was amended to make only six larger lots available.

The regional district board unanimously agreed that keeping the 10 lots of affordable housing is something directors would like to see as the proposal progresses through the bylaw and SLRD review process.

“I’d ask that they follow through on the 10 non-market lots that they originally proposed, and they take it out of the size of the market lots,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton.

“I don’t have an appetite for reducing the number of non-market lots at this point. In fact, I’d like to see more, but I think we came down with 10 previously, so I’d like to see them find a way to deliver 10.”

Director Jen Ford agreed with her colleagues that the proposal is headed down the right path.

“We have great staff working on this that will continue to get the best deal of non-market housing in this area to support a community that is growing, and we want to see the best deal for the region,” Ford said.

SLRD staff will review the proposal in more detail and return to the board at a future date with bylaw amendments that will go through first, second, and third readings before consideration of adoption.

**An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the WHA was in discussions to potentially buy some of the lots. In a follow-up email, an SLRD spokesperson clarified that the WHA is not involved in the WedgeWoods development, and there are no bylaws drafted in relation to the project at this time. SLRD staff have been directed to prepare bylaws based on input made at the Board meeting of June 29.