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Fairmont’s destination spa gets thumbs up

Owners of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler are one step closer to building a multi-million dollar luxury spa.

Owners of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler are one step closer to building a multi-million dollar luxury spa.

On Tuesday night, council unanimously approved the hotel's rezoning application for a 20,000 square foot spa with treatment rooms, pools, a relaxation lounge, a café and retail space.

"I would like to compliment the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for looking ahead," said Councillor Ted Milner.

"This is certainly something Whistler will benefit hugely from as an amenity that we don't quite have at this level at the moment."

Most of the council's discussion on Tuesday focused on the extra bed units that the 20-year-old hotel would be responsible for if they built the spa.

At issue was whether Whistler's old method of paying $5,900 in lieu of each bed unit is out of date. In the end, council asked municipal staff to look at alternative ways the Fairmont could deal with the bed units.

No one at the Fairmont was able to comment publicly about the spa before Pique's deadline this week.

However the hotel's general manager, Roger Soane, told council last summer the large destination spa would likely cost between $12 and $15 million to build.

The municipality also held an open house on the proposal in July, and three members of the public attended.

Community to discuss Whistler's gravel pit

The municipality will arrange a public open house sometime soon to find out if the community has any concerns with the active gravel pit next to the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood.

The 13 hectare grave pit has been in operation for years, and is currently zoned to manufacture and process gravel and aggregate, as well as to store industrial machinery.

Whistler Aggregates Ltd, the company overseeing the operations, recently submitted a rezoning application to keep a temporary buffer between the quarry and Cheakamus Crossing in place permanently. The application, if successful, would also see the quarry expand onto 5.67 acres of adjacent Crown land.

The quarry is currently operated between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, as well as occasionally on Saturdays, in the summer and fall months, explained Kevin Creery, planning analyst for the municipality, in his report to council.

Whistler Aggregates also blasts the area approximately every three months during the construction season.

Creery added that the existence of the gravel pit was also made clear to people who bought units at the Cheakamus Crossing through the disclosure statements they received.

Council says no to plastic

Whistler took a stand against plastic on Tuesday.

In a series of motions, mayor and council decided to ask businesses to accept a "voluntary ban" on plastic bags. Council also agreed to stop selling plastic water bottles at all municipal facilities by next May.

While the new legislation doesn't out right prohibit stores and restaurants from giving plastic bags to their customers, it encourages businesses to use alternatives.

"This is the first step in our sustainable plastic policy," Nicolette Richer, environmental coordinator for the municipality, told council this week. "This is really an education piece."

Also, to further their anti-plastic stance, the municipality is starting a "Banners to Bags" program to convert old banners into shopping bags. Approximately 1,700 already-used banners are available to make 6,800 bags, said Heather Beresford, environmental stewardship manager for the municipality.