Litigation first seems to be the way of Whistler Considering career choices in Whistler in the 21st century? Real estate agent and any of the construction trades probably shouldn’t be high on the list — providing of course the ceiling on development remains in place. But litigation seems to hold a promising future. To judge by the most recent package of correspondence to Whistler council, law suits, threatened or implied, seem to be part of normal discussions between property owners and the municipality. This week’s council package included two letters from Whistler Cay Heights property owners who oppose a rezoning application which would give a single family house villa status. "The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a recent reported decision, has expressed its views with respect to the development philosophy of this Municipality," snorts one letter writer, who goes on to state: "We do not expect that this letter will cause the Council to halt this process. It may in fact be necessary to proceed to the Supreme Court to request injunctive relief and damages, both general and special, caused by the pending application." Another letter writer on the same topic says: "Should the Municipality wish to continue with this application, we will be forced to pursue all available remedies including: a) Injunctive relief; b) Damages including compensation for what will amount to a defacto expropriation and breach of a restrictive covenant; c) An application to the Supreme Court of British Columbia under the Municipal Act challenging the ability of the Municipality to proceed in the manner in which it is proceeding and to grant any rezoning." Another letter in the same council package expresses opposition to a bus stop that is proposed in front of the writer’s front door. "I am hoping that you and Council will consider my request favourably so I don’t have to take further action," the condo owner writes. All this legal bravado, as the first letter implies, is due to a B.C. Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year, overturning a Whistler Creek pension rezoning approved by the municipality. Out of that successful challenge to the municipality’s authority have also grown rumblings of law suits involving the 19 Mile Creek employee housing project and the Beaver Flats employee housing project. It is a fundamental right in our country to legally challenge governments, corporations and developers, and they certainly need to be challenged on some issues. Property owners should also be entitled to some certainty and protection of their neighbourhoods. But it has to also be recognized that most of the above proposals are intended to benefit not only individuals, but the community as a whole. In some instances the individual and the community interests collide and the courts may be the best way to resolve the issue. But litigation should not — as it seems to have become — be a starting point.


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