Four Seasons plans move forward 

Revised plans for a Four Seasons hotel on land that is currently the Blackcomb day-skier parking lot include accommodation for 64 employees but will leave 116 bed units "floating."

Rezoning applications for the Four Seasons hotel and a smaller hotel which will be built next to it, on Lots E and 5, received first and second reading by Whistler council Monday.

The new plans for the Four Seasons include staff accommodation in two areas of the hotel, each with a lounge and a kitchen. No employee housing or cash in lieu was required because Intrawest is building the hotel, and the company has already made substantial commitments to employee housing.

However, Intrawest revised the plans to include staff accommodation. The company is also constructing an employee apartment building on Alta Lake Road near Tamarisk this summer.

The Four Seasons will be a 273-room hotel, including two presidential suites that will be nearly 3,000 square feet in size. It will also feature a 7,000 square foot spa, 11,000 square feet of meeting space and approximately 1,500 square feet of retail space.

Intrawest received some of the bed units for the project through the three-way deal with Decigon and the municipality to preserve the Emerald Forest lands.

The Four Seasons will count for 691 bed units. The smaller, neighbouring hotel – which has not reached the detailed design stage – will consume a number of Intrawest’s remaining bed units, but the company is still expected to have 116 bed units left after both hotels are built. Intrawest has committed to finding a previously disturbed site for those bed units. That site, once identified, will also require rezoning before the bed units can be developed.

Senior municipal planner Bob McPherson noted that one member of the municipality’s Advisory Planning Commission recommended the leftover bed units be extinguished. Staff and council disagreed. McPherson noted that the bed units will come back before council before they can be used.

Councillor Kristi Wells noted that the bed units created as part of the Emerald Forest deal were intended to be used on a non-environmentally sensitive site (Lot 5 and Lot E), and Intrawest has committed to finding a similar site.

"These bed units were created in part because they were to be used on an infill site, one previously denigrated," Wells said.

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