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New method to measure building space proposed

The Canadian Home Builder’s Association has developed a proposed bylaw to tackle Whistler’s non-conforming space issue head-on. In a letter addressed to council Dec.

The Canadian Home Builder’s Association has developed a proposed bylaw to tackle Whistler’s non-conforming space issue head-on.

In a letter addressed to council Dec. 11, the Sea to Sky Chapter suggested using a new method for measuring building space in Whistler by measuring overall volumetric space instead of square footage space.

Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden applauded the association for taking on the issue and putting forth recommendations.

The letter was signed by association president David Girard and states: “The Sea to Sky Chapter of the Canadian Home Builder’s Association has been grappling with this situation for years and have over the last couple of years been working on a solution. Our members don’t want to be building non-compliant buildings any more than the municipality wants us to.”

Mayor Ken Melamed agreed that he is happy about the open dialogue between council and the Sea to Sky Chapter on this issue.

He added that council will craft a response to the association, which will outline some inaccuracies stipulated in the letter.00

The proposed bylaw is available online at and was developed with input from local architects, designers, engineers, the Whistler Realtor Association, the legal community and the local building community.

The Canadian Homebuilders have offered to meet at any time with the municipality to collaborate further on this issue.  


Councillors commend environment protection plan

After two years of hard work, a municipal protocol to protect undeveloped land may soon be put into practice.

The protocol, dubbed the Protected Area Network (PAN), is divided into two parts: a land use and development strategy and an Official Community Plan amendment.

Council was informed of the final strategy and OCP amendment, and will be asked to adopt the bylaw within the next few months. If approved, a public hearing will be scheduled to get community input.

“This is really tremendous,” said mayor Ken Melamed at the council meeting last week.

Other councillors also voiced their strong support.

Councillor Eckhard Zeidler said his one plea is that the provincial government uses the plan as a “progressive example” when looking at the Callaghan Valley.

The protocol identifies Whistler’s sensitive ecosystem and connectivity corridors, designates levels of protection, and describes an environmental review process.

It would ensure that land developed within Whistler would have to follow the guidelines outlined in both the OCP amendment and PAN Land Use and Development Strategy.

Many environmental experts were consulted in developing the plan, including Professor Kristina Rothley from Simon Fraser University, the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, and the Forest and Wildlife Advisory Committee. A peer review was also done.


Liquor hours extended for WinterPride event

The liquor license for Snowball, the final event of WinterPride festival, may be extended almost five hours to 6 a.m.

Council approved an application to the provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch last week, since the regulations currently say that places serving alcohol must be cleared within half an hour of their liquor license expiring.

“There is a history here of extending hours,” said Ken Melamed, voicing his support for the application.  

“Unlike others, WinterPride has a good track record,” he added.

The Snowball dance party starts at 10 p.m. on Feb. 9 as part of the WinterPride festival, produced by Gay Whistler/Alpenglow Productions.

Organizers of the 1,200 person event plan to serve alcohol until 2:30 a.m. but keep the party going until the wee hour of 6 a.m.

The temporary change to the liquor license has the support of the Whistler RCMP and the municipality’s bylaw department. A report to council also noted that finishing at 6 a.m. would allow more buses and taxis to shuttle people home, compared to 3 a.m.


Developing a corridor-wide transportation strategy

The municipality met with the Ministry of Transportation several times over November to work on a 30-year transportation vision for the Sea to Sky region.

Municipality staff stressed the importance transportation plays on the Whistler guest experience, especially from the airport through downtown Vancouver and the Sea to Sky Highway to their accommodation in Whistler.

They also provided a consultant for the province five key documents that guide transportation in Whistler, including the second edition of Whistler 2020.

The Ministry has been meeting with other SLRD municipalities and regional districts as well to develop this plan, which is part of their mandate.

At an early meeting in Squamish, the province said it does not see water, air or rail transport being integrated into their transportation plan.

The Ministry of Transportation also said they are considering a regional transit tax to encourage people to take the bus instead of driving cars. The tax could be levied by a local transit authority.

The province added that it is not consulting the public at this time to develop the plan because of time constraints.