Council to travel to Park City 

Learning about life after the Olympic Games isn’t the only reason for council’s trip to Park City, Utah in the fall.

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said the four-day tour is also about teamwork, bonding and building relationships among council and staff.

Council is scheduled to leave for Utah at the end of September where they will have the chance to see first hand what life is like two years after the Olympic Games. They’ll also learn how Whistler can better prepare for the 2010 Games.

Salt Lake City hosted the winter Olympic Games in 2002.

Earlier, council was planning to take a much bigger trip to U.S. resorts for a comprehensive look at housing and economics, among other things.

But time constraints, and the fact that the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan was still incomplete, forced them to reconsider.

This isn’t the first time a Whistler council has gone on a fact-finding mission to the U.S.

When O’Reilly first became mayor eight and a half years ago, council took a ten-day trip around Colorado and Sun Valley in Idaho to learn from Whistler’s U.S. counterparts.

Valley Trail paving to undergo Natural Step analysis

The municipality will be examining an earlier decision to pave a section of the Valley Trail by using The Natural Step framework.

The trail connection runs where the existing Valley Trail meets the railroad tracks, just north of Nita Lake, to Alta Lake Road on the west side of the valley.

Paving this section of the trail was part of a development permit for Stone Bridge on the BC Rail lands roughly five years ago.

But concerns from Shannon Smith have prompted council to reexamine their earlier decision in light of The Natural Step framework and the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan.

In a letter to council Smith said the trail transects an environmentally sensitive zone which includes wetlands and urged council to reconsider their earlier decision.

"Please think about the long-term goals as set out in the CSP and do not continue with the "old ways" which are not consistent with those long-term goals," she wrote.

"Simply put, paving over wetlands and lake is absolutely contrary to the whole basis of the CSP."

Even though the railway line runs through the area, Councillor Ken Melamed called the TNS review worthwhile.

He said even without asphalt the trail could still be upgraded to municipal standards, just like the trails at Lost Lake.

Whistler assesses resident housing needs

By the end of 2004 Whistler should have a better understanding of its resident housing needs for the future.

The municipality is hiring consultants to do a detailed resident housing needs assessment to determine what kind of housing should be built in the valley and when it should be delivered.

The municipality’s general manager of planning and development Bob MacPherson said they would like to better understand the demand and how that demand will change over the next five to ten years.

The last housing needs assessment was done in 1997.

In recent years the housing demand in Whistler has shifted from a seasonal, dorm-style need to one that’s more focused on families.

MacPherson was looking to hire a full time housing planner at the RMOW but could not find a suitable candidate. As such, the assessment will be sent out as consulting work. The consultants have yet to be chosen.

The housing needs assessment will be used in conjunction with the housing site assessment which was done earlier this year as a planning tool for the municipality.

Council to pick library contractors

Council will announce their decision on who will head up the library construction at August’s council meeting.

Of the four firms who were sent a Request for Proposal, three sent in bids to the municipality.

They are Kindred Construction Ltd, Task Construction Management Inc. and Whistler Construction Company.

Diana Waltmann, information officer with the municipality, said all three bids were competitive and council will be faced with a difficult job in choosing one company as the library’s project manager.

The decision will be announced at the regular council meeting on Monday August 9.

In the meantime staff are still exploring the possibility of including resident restricted seniors housing as part of the overall library design. Options include putting the housing above the building or developing a separate building on the site.

The housing component is not included in the cost of the $7 million library project.

A decision about the seniors housing should be resolved by mid-August.

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