Building, planning departments wrap busy 2015 

Council briefs: Chevron station opening delayed

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CLARE OGILVIE - on hold The Chevron gas station in Rainbow.
  • photo by clare ogilvie
  • on hold The Chevron gas station in Rainbow.

After a hectic third quarter in the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) planning and building departments, the pace of applications in both departments slowed somewhat in Q4.

The planning department received 37 new applications in Q4 2015, compared to 51 in Q3. The total number of new applications for 2015 was 220, compared to 258 in 2014.

The busiest quarters for the planning department were Q1 and Q2, which fielded 60 per cent of new applications, the majority of which were for development permits.

In the building department, 197 new applications were received in Q4, down from 310 in Q3. Total new applications hit 1,091, down from 1,146 in 2014.

It was Q2 and Q3 that were busiest for new applications in the building department. Building permits and information requests made up the majority of the files.

"When we look at 2015 and the number of new applications, it shows that the building department and planning department continue to be very, very active," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

"If people are interested in building or renovating or they've got that kind of project on the horizon for 2016, we really encourage them to get into the planning and building departments early so that they don't get stuck in the summer onslaught."

New applications mean revenue for the RMOW, which goes into surplus and can be used to counter unanticipated expenses throughout the year, the mayor said.

In 2015, planning department revenues associated with processing applications was $155,923, compared to a budgeted $131,500.

Building department revenues were even higher, pulling in $1,275,526 — well above the budgeted $654,874.

But the revenue windfalls don't cloud the RMOW's budgeting process, Wilhelm-Morden said.

"We look at what happened in 2015, and then we look at other factors outside of our control and just what impact we think they may have on our local economy," she said, noting that factors like the low Canadian dollar and the ballooning Vancouver real estate market are on the municipal radar.

"There are just so many unknowns, so we'll be taking a cautious approach to budgeting," she said.


Originally predicted to open in time for Christmas, major construction on the Chevron service station in Rainbow has been put on hold during a colder-than-expected winter, said spokesperson Adrien Byrne.

"We have to give it time because there are always uncertainties with construction, but it's coming along," he noted.

Among the major work that still needs to be done is the installation of several large gas tanks, a canopy and laying asphalt. Byrne anticipates the remaining work will take several weeks to complete in favourable weather conditions.

Minor electrical work and painting will continue as planned.

Plans for the 223-square-metre station include four fuel dispensers with two nozzles each, an electric charging station and a small convenience store. It's part of the Rainbow Plaza, a mixed residential-commercial development that will offer a boutique Loblaw's store as well as 65 resident-restricted rental units. The plaza is expected to open in late spring.

At its Feb. 16 meeting, Whistler council opted not to grant a development variance permit to the owner of the station for changes to a proposed permanent freestanding sign.

The variances would have increased the maximum area and height of the sign.

-with files from Brandon Barrett


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