creekside plans 

If Whistler Mountain can find a real estate partner in the next four weeks the company will begin its long-awaited Creekside redevelopment in April. Whistler Mountain Ski Corp. President Doug Forseth announced the ambitious plans and a new model for the redevelopment at the Creekside Merchants Association’s Creekside Neighbourhood Meeting Saturday. The development, phase one of a Whistler Creek master plan, curves around the base terminal of the new Creekside Gondola. Forseth estimated the cost of Whistler Mountain’s portion of the project at about $7 million. If the company decides to go ahead with construction in the spring the development would be substantially completed by the beginning of the 1997-98 ski season. The project consists of three buildings around a horseshoe-shaped plaza. The southern-most building will be a condo-hotel development, consisting of about 70 units. Whistler Mountain is seeking a partner to develop this building. The other two buildings, which will be linked underground, will be built by the lift company. The centre building will be a two-storey structure which will house ticket offices, rental shops, lockers and other day-lodge facilities. The northern-most building will be four storeys, with retail and restaurants on the ground floor, Whistler Mountain Ski Corp.’s head office on the second floor and the top two floors consisting of about 20 condo units. The plan has become economically feasible because of a new approach to flood proofing. According to the Ministry of Environment, the Whistler Creek area is a 300-year flood plain. That means before any redevelopment can take place at the Creekside base a flood proofing plan has to be approved. Previous flood-proofing schemes, involving trenching and concrete lining of Whistler Creek, were estimated at between $4 million and $4.5 million. Forseth said those costs made redevelopment impossible. The new plan utilizes the bowl where the Creekside Gondola base terminal is located as a catch basin for any debris that would be washed down the mountain in a 300-year flood. The water would run through the middle of the horseshoe, under the plaza, and into the parking lot. The parking lot will be sculpted to divert the water back to Whistler Creek. Forseth said the cost of the new flood-proofing plan is about $1.5 million. Although the new development will extend out into the current parking area, Forseth said the intent is not to lose any of the approximately 1,100 parking stalls now available. Some underground parking will be included in the redevelopment. Whistler Mountain obtained a development permit for the project in July. Future phases of the Whistler Creek redevelopment include townhouses in the area where Whistler Mountain’s head offices now sit, some retail/commercial development in the area of the skiers chapel and possibly a hotel. If Whistler Mountain can’t secure a real estate partner in the next four weeks the project will be postponed a year. If a partner is found demolition of the existing Creekside buildings will take place in April. Temporary ticket offices will be set up in the parking lot for the balance of the ski season. Whistler Mountain also plans to develop an employee housing complex on Alta Lake Road, near Twin Lakes and Tamarisk, next summer. The lift company also has long-range plans to develop a third base area in the Function Junction area.

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