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One of the most frustrating things about Whistler has been the pace and scale of development and how there has been little opportunity for local input once a plan is in place.

One of the most frustrating things about Whistler has been the pace and scale of development and how there has been little opportunity for local input once a plan is in place. Watching Village North, which was sold off in parcels by a provincial government hungry for revenue, was particularly infuriating for some. While Village North is virtually complete, there is still time for local input on another major project. In fact, the municipality is eager to hear from people about the Creekside redevelopment, and has scheduled a public information session for Saturday, July 10 at the Delta. Intrawest’s redevelopment plans for Creekside consist of three major projects: the Creekside area itself, a new subdivision south of Millar’s Pond known as Spring Creek, and a high-end subdivision above the old T-bar hill in Creekside, known as The Peaks. The three projects account for 2,300 bed units, the last of Whistler Mountain’s development rights and the largest unallocated pool of bed units left in Whistler. The bed units are "floating," which means they aren’t tied to a specific piece of property at the moment. The municipality would like to have all 2,300 bed units allocated in the final Comprehensive Development Strategy for Creekside, Spring Creek and The Peaks, which is why it will be dealing with all three projects in one zoning bylaw. In other words, once the plan for the three projects is approved that’s it; the form and character of the south end of Whistler will be determined for all time. But what makes Saturday’s public information session so crucial is the municipality’s Advisory Planning Commission and some members of council don’t like major parts of the plan. It’s not that Intrawest hasn’t been generous in offering community amenities as part of its CDS for the three projects. The company has offered to donate a site for a much needed elementary school and a fire hall in Spring Creek. A considerable amount of employee housing is also part of the subdivision and a donation for a daycare facility has been promised. New Valley Trail extensions are also included in the CDS. But what has APC members concerned is how the three projects tie together and the timing of the school development. Another elementary school can’t be built soon enough — come September there will be as many students in portables as there will be in classrooms at Myrtle Philip school, and that’s with Grade 7 students at the high school. The school at Spring Creek could be open by 2001, but development of the Spring Creek subdivision is expected to be a 10-year project, which has APC members concerned students will be going to school in a construction zone. One APC member suggested Intrawest was using the donation of the school site as a carrot to win approval for Spring Creek. Spring Creek and The Peaks, as currently planned, will also impact their neighbouring subdivisions. Access to The Peaks will be through the Bayshores subdivision. Spring Creek will have its own highway access but it will be a "dead end" subdivision, which doesn’t work well for bus service. As well, another traffic light will be needed at the entrance to Spring Creek and Highway 99 if a fire hall is included in the subdivision. Spring Creek could be connected to Millar’s Pond, but that might not go down to well with Millar’s Pond and Bayshores residents. These are some of the issues. There is still time for public input.