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RMOW gives thumbs-up to increase unit numbers at Function Junction development

The Lil'wat-owned development on Alpha Lake Road is proposed to have 72 housing units, rather than 48
Schematic of 1000 Alpha Lake Road development plans.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has given the thumbs up to a zoning amendment for Lil’wat-owned lands in Function Junction to allow for easier development, and increased housing density on the site.

The project, at 1000 Alpha Lake Road, previously received a development permit in early 2022 which would see a gas station, a brewery and 48 units of employee housing constructed on two previously subdivided lots.

Two years on, the RMOW has said yes to tinkering with the development permit, and making a zoning amendment that would see the wider project encompass a gas station, a mixed-use commercial and residential building, and 72 employee units—removing the brewery and adding an additional 24 units.

The project is bounded by Highway 99, the railway tracks, and Alpha Lake Road.

According to a staff report, the zoning amendment was to adjust the zoning boundary between the two lots to reflect the lot boundaries themselves, allowing both to have frontage onto Alpha Lake Road with a panhandle that was appropriately zoned.

The lot (Lot 2) allocated for mixed commercial, industrial and residential will allow for three, four-level equivalent buildings that would host the 72 employee units.

Two of the buildings would have 20 units each, with a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units, and space for three commercial or industrial units on the ground floor.

The third, larger building would have 32 units on the top two floors split between one and two-bedroom makeup, while the ground floor would be a high-ceiling space suitable for six industrial or commercial units.

The development would see 141 parking spaces, with 96 set aside for residential, and 45 for non-residential including accessible stalls and EV charging stalls. Most of the parking would be surface parking between the buildings, besides 32 stalls underground in the larger building for industrial and residential use.

The entire 2.15-hectare plot of land is owned by the Lil’wat Nation, and has been in the development planning stage for many years; When it received a development permit in 2022, it was four years after it had first been proposed in 2017.

Mayor Jack Crompton said he was pleased to see the increased residential density, and queried whether it could be higher, to which staff said the nature of the site combined with the property’s location wedged between the highway and the railway meant the density was “consistent with the neighbourhood.”

Staff also noted the proposal was within zoned density allowance, and the map amendment simply allowed more floorspace within what was already zoned.

Because the changes involve access to a road controlled by the provincial government, the bylaw amendment must be approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure prior to adoption.

Councillors voted unanimously to give the zoning changes first, second and third readings, and to receive the amended development permit application. Both items will come back before council for approval.

The development of Lot 1, which is zoned for a gas station, was not affected by the changes.