council briefs 

It was her last council meeting (at least for a few years), but Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden decided Monday she couldn’t let anymore allegations and misinformation go by about the legal costs the municipality is facing with regard to tourist accommodation. Wilhelm-Morden was reacting to a letter to the mayor and council from Peter Hewitt (the letter was published in Pique Nov. 12), and other letters from Hewitt and Jane Patterson, which object to the "obscene hemorrhaging of public funds to pay for the current enforcement folly." Wilhelm-Morden said suggestions the municipality has set aside $3 million for enforcement of the current bylaw which prohibits nightly rental of residential properties is untrue. "The municipality is not hemorrhaging and no money has been set aside to enforce the bylaw," Wilhelm-Morden said. To date, the municipality has spent $18,800 enforcing the bylaw, according to Wilhelm-Morden. The municipality has sent out 156 letters to homeowners or property managers who have been renting their houses by the night. Nineteen legal actions have been started by the municipality and seven are being contested. There have been no legal actions against the municipality, Wilhelm-Morden said. She added that no action has exceeded $5,000 and that the average cost of legal actions to date has been $711. Most of the legal actions are at a preliminary stage. Councillor Ken Melamed added there may be a time when the next council decides to re-visit the tourist accommodation issue, but even if does so enforcement of rules will continue to be a challenge because "there will be people who push it." Bylaws for rezoning Lot 5 and Lot E on the Blackcomb Benchlands, to allow for hotel developments, were given fourth reading by council Monday. The bylaws concerning Lot E were approved unanimously but Councillor Ted Milner voted against the bylaws for Lot 5, which was part of the Emerald Forest deal. Milner also voted against the Lot 5 rezoning at third reading. "Two hotels is one too many," for the area Milner said Monday. Earlier in the meeting council Milner opposed the creation of the Emerald Dreams Conservation Co. Ltd., a municipal holding company which is also part of the Emerald Forest deal. Whistler council passed a motion Monday to ask MLA Ted Nebbeling to lobby on Whistler’s behalf for provincial infrastructure funding to help cover the cost of the Emerald Sewer. A zoning amendment bylaw which will permit nightly rentals of specific properties at Taluswood and on the Blackcomb Benchlands was given third reading Monday. The properties — The Ridge at Taluswood, Taluswood Phase 1, Forest Creek, Blackcomb Greens, Treeline and The Woods — were all believed to have originally been zoned to allow for tourist accommodation, but in fact were not. All except The Ridge at Taluswood are on Resort Land. Municipal planner Mike Kirkegaard said all of the properties were suited to temporary rental accommodation and that neither Taluswood nor the Benchlands could be considered primarily residential neighbourhoods. There were no public presentations at a public hearing on the rezoning earlier in the evening.

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