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Business as usual for patios

Stakeholders to work together on village noise solutions

Licensed patio owners will continue to operate business as usual in the wake of a police warning to have their patios closed by 11 p.m.

After a meeting last week stakeholders agreed to work positively on a solution to manage late-night noise in the village.

Despite the earlier warning to enforce the rules, patios remained open until 12:30 p.m. over the Canada Day long weekend and no operators were fined.

"We don’t want to have to enforce," said Mayor Ken Melamed this week. "As long as patio owners operate in a… manner that’s respectful of all the guests then we’re going to give them as much latitude as we can."

At Tuesday’s council meeting Citta’ general manager Colin Pyne asked council to change the rules that mandate his patio, and a handful of others in the village, to close by 11 p.m. as per the patio license agreement. Some operators are bound by this agreement with the resort municipality because their patio encroaches on municipal land.

Pyne said an 11 p.m. enforcement of the rules would represent an 11 per cent loss of the day’s sales, not to mention a loss in experience for some of Whistler’s guests.

"There’s a certain expectation guests have when they come to a European-style ski resort," he said.

Pyne said there must be a concerted effort not just from patio operators to control the noise and the patrons on their property but also by other village stakeholders.

Police and bylaw officers have a role to play, along with liquor store operators, patio operators and hotel and property managers.

"We need to sit down and come up with a plan to discuss and ensure that any actions that are taken serve to everyone’s benefit and not to anyone’s detriment," said RCMP Sgt. Marc Lavergne.

"It is business as usual, however, what we are indicating is that there are laws that need to be respected."

Melamed encouraged more of the dialogue that is already taking place among the stakeholder groups.

"There is a renewed interest in trying to find this respectful balance between the need for animation and the night scene versus the family and the quiet scene," said the mayor.

"We understand the importance of meeting the needs of both groups."