A development permit for the controversial 19 Mile Creek employee housing project in Alpine Meadows was approved by council Dec. 21, which should pave the way for construction in the spring. Normally a routine matter, the 19 Mile Creek development permit was only passed by a 4-1 margin, with Councillor Stephanie Sloan opposed. Sloan has voted against the housing project all along, suggesting the density of the project is too great for the Alpine Meadows area. The project, which will include 60 owner-occupied townhouses and 18 rental apartment units, has received considerable scrutiny, and was the subject of a heated public hearing last March. Zoning bylaws were adopted by council in August. The project has also been before design panel three times and meets all of the design panel’s recommendations, with the exception of the location of the garbage enclosure. However, municipal staff agree with the location proposed by the developer. The development permit was approved with a number of "subject to" clauses, including registration of flood-proofing and tree preservation covenants, registration of a Valley Trail right of way and an access easement. Sloan asked why approval was requested with the "subject to" clauses still to be fulfilled. Mike Purcell, director of planning, replied that the outstanding issues are minor in nature and it is normal procedure to approve a development permit, subject to such covenants and easements being fulfilled. The project now incorporates a "stream feature" which allows an inflow of water from 19 Mile Creek to a pond within the development area and outflow back to the creek. Parts of the inflow and outflow channels will travel through culverts. Councillor Ken Melamed noted that "culverting" streams damages fish habitat, but Purcell said there is currently no outflow from the pond; the water just dissipates into the ground, so it has little environmental significance. Culverting will be kept to a minimum.