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Pique to the Past: Nordic Centre expansion under fire

Here's a look at what was making headlines in Whistler 18 years ago, during the week of April 21, 2005.
File photo of ski jumping at Whistler Olympic Park.

Here's a look at what was making headlines in Whistler 18 years ago, during the week of April 21, 2005.

Nordic Centre plans draw fire

Opponents to a proposed expansion of the Whistler Nordic Centre (now known as Whistler Olympic Park) came out in force at a Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) open house, citing environmental and business concerns with the expansion of the development ahead of the 2010 Olympic Games. 

Led by Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), the proposed expansion of the Whistler Nordic Centre,  would see new biathlon, cross-country and ski-jump facilities created along with lodging, camping, and commercial facilities. 

The main concern raised by residents was the scale of the development. Past president of the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, Wendy Horan, said at the time that the plans were “too large” and didn’t pay attention to the “sensitive ecology” of the area. 

Fitzsimmons slump poses a threat to Whistler Village

A government-commissioned report confirmed that Whistler was at risk from a debris flood if a landslide occurred above the village. The report created by Vancouver-based EBA Engineering recommended a debris basin be constructed to avoid a potential debris flow from cascading down Fitzsimmons Creek into the day-skier parking lots and the public bus loop.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) would eventually construct the Fitzsimmons Creek Debris Barrier four years after this story was published.

B.C. Liberal policies lauded at Whistler Chamber Luncheon 

Business leaders praised the governing B.C. Liberal’s economic record at a Whistler Chamber of Commerce luncheon ahead of the May 17 election. Kevin Evans, then chair of the Coalition of B.C. Businesses, representing about 50,000 businesses at the time, said the election was crucial to avoid “falling back”. 

“Now (it is our) responsibility to come out of our comfort zone and give credit where credit is due. The provincial economy would not be where it is today without the policy thrust of the present government,” Evans said at the time. 

RMOW decides to dump waste in the Interior 

Whistler's mayor and council voted to send its waste to a large-scale landfill three hours away, in the Interior, to the Campbell Hill Landfill in Cache Creek. The move came in tandem with the municipality closing its landfill in Function Junction. 

The move didn’t come cheap, however, with the costs to the RMOW tripling to $69 per tonne as opposed to the $25.54 per tonne that it cost prior, for a total of $1.24 million. Municipal officials said the heavy price tag would encourage the RMOW to improve waste mitigation efforts. 

“As far as the cost of shipping—ouch,” said Councillor Gordon McKeever at the time. “But it will serve as a powerful incentive to reduce and reuse.”