editorial 

Is it the election, the mach II pace of change, buildout looming on the horizon, or is everyone just in a foul mood? A few weeks ago one person wrote to mayor and council to oppose one rezoning application, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to slam the Catholic Church and rectory, which are being imposed on his neighbourhood, at the same time. "We now find that there is to be no church for the time being only a house and a ‘fundraising hall’," he wrote. "I do not find this congruous with a quiet residential neighbourhood. Will these new neighbours be able to flaunt their ‘church’ zoning and hold bingo’s, dances, and other benefits sure to bring noise and disruption to our homes? Will they be required to fit in with the residential character of our neighbourhood? We have indication that they will not! Who in Council will be held accountable for this nuisance?" Tough questions to answer, especially when you’re dealing with a pension application a couple of blocks away. But the letter is indicative of the tone of things right now. Last week petitions were circulated and notices posted on Cable 6 to write to mayor and council regarding the proposed affordable housing project at 19 Mile Creek. Residents in an area of Whistler Creek have hired a lawyer to fight a pension. And then, Monday, there was the Blueberry gate debate. Approximately 50 Blueberry Hill and Whistler Cay residents turned out for the afternoon’s committee of the whole meeting, although such delegations are usually received in the evening, regular council meeting sessions. Some of the concerned residents had hired lawyer Mark Sager, who also happens to be mayor of West Vancouver and a friend of Whistler Mayor Ted Nebbeling. The decision by council, on a 4:2 vote, was to open the gate to public transit buses during peak traffic times, for a six month trial period. Municipal staff recommended the gate be open to all traffic for a one year trial period. There were several reasons given by councillors Murray, Wells, Kirk and O’Reilly for opening the gate to transit. Among them were: it was in the best interest of the whole community, it will provide more information for transit planning, and installing a traffic light at Highway 99 and Blueberry Drive without opening the gate was silly. It was also noted that an existing bus route goes from the village, down Lorimer Road to Crabapple and then doubles back along the same route. By opening up the gate that bus route can become more efficient. It does add a bus to Blueberry Hill, which was bus free, but it also means one less bus through the Lorimer Ridge, Tapley’s Farm and Whistler Cay areas. After the council meeting it was pointed out that people staying in the Ironwood and Whiskey Jack units on Blueberry Hill are likely bus users. The opposition to opening the gate centred around the argument that doing so would destroy neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods are extremely important, but the decision was to open the gate to transit buses, and only during periods of peak traffic. Do buses kill neighbourhoods or do they help the community as a whole? Moreover, council indicated last winter there would be a traffic light at Blueberry Drive and Highway 99. That decision, finally reconfirmed Monday, holds implications for the rest of the community, therefore council has an obligation to look at the gate (and other issues) from the community-as-a-whole perspective. Maybe it’s the election, but the attitude of every man, woman and subdivision for itself seems to be taking precedence over the welfare of the whole community.

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