By Loreth Beswetherick The ribbon was cut and Whistler’s long-awaited campground declared officially open on a snowy Friday, Dec. 17, three years after a municipal proposal call for a camping facility. By the weekend there were 12 RV’s parked at the Riverside Campground off Mons Road, fewer than were still to be found in parking Lot 4 on Sunday. Riverside manager Eric Wight said bookings for Christmas are surprisingly strong and still coming in daily, even at this late stage. He said the campground will be full on New Year’s Eve. Assistant manager Allie Maw said they are expecting around 200 people for New Year’s. Wight said, in addition to the 55 fully-serviced RV pads available this winter Riverside is also providing 60 unserviced parking spots at $20 per night. The RV lots are being offered at $500 per month. The nightly rate is $35 per vehicle including two adults, with an extra $5 for any additional adults. Children under 16 stay free. Shower and washroom facilities are currently being provided in a trailer. Maw said washer dryer facilities will also be provided. Now that the campground is up and running Whistler council Monday night decided on a course of action for the campers in Lot 4. The Bylaw Department has been directed to enforce the restriction on overnight parking in Lots 1 through 4A effective April 30, 2000. In the interim existing overnight campers will be restricted to Lot 4A, the snow-dump lot. The key word in the motion is "existing" overnight campers. The Bylaw Department did an inventory of campers in Lot 4 Monday and came up with a total of 40. Those 40 campers will be allowed to stay in Lot 4A this winter but no new campers will be allowed. The bylaws department met with Whistler-Blackcomb Friday to discuss moving only the existing campers into the snow dump lot — the one used to access the cross-country ski trails. Bylaws chief Sandra Smith said the mountains are comfortable with this interim measure. Their key concern is to provide enough skier parking during the Christmas season. "It’s one of those issues where there are just so many sides to the problem. It just keeps unfolding," said Smith. "The campground doesn’t want to become a trailer park so it throws a bit of a curve ball. It’s a tricky one," she said. Maw said the Riverside Campground will set a limit on the number of monthly rentals offered. That limit will depend on how bookings shape up over the next few months. She said it will likely be set at 20 out of the 54 RV sites. "We do want to be a campground and not a trailer park," she said. Next spring work will start on tent sites. The plan is to have these up and running by the summer. The camping facility will be constructed in three phases and will ultimately include employee housing — 12 studio units and eight one-bedroom units — an 18-hole putting course plus a swimming pool. Council has set a maximum six-year buildout period for the entire project.

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