Intrawest putting up high end hotel in village 

Although council dashed Intrawest’s plans to swap its parking obligations from the village to Creekside, they did approve a development permit to allow Intrawest to move ahead with their new high-end hotel development.

The condo-hotel is set to go up in the heart of the village, over the existing parking lot at the corner of Blackcomb Way and Village Gate Boulevard, next to the Holiday Inn and Earl’s. The complex is known as the Whistler Village Centre.

"It’s really unfortunate that we have to be dealing with massing on this site," said Councillor Kristi Wells at Monday’s council meeting.

"I think it’s the best architecturally that we could do given that we have to."

More than 10 years ago council approved a Master Development Permit, which called for a mixture of hotels and commercial space on the Whistler Village Centre site.

Since then four buildings and an underground parking lot have been built with the assumption that a final hotel will be built there in the future.

Intrawest purchased the development rights to build that hotel two years ago from Larco Investments Ltd.

The hotel will be an 83-room condo-hotel building, which will be managed and operated by the Pan Pacific Hotel Group.

It will be a 10-storey building with the highest floor built into the roof.

"Does that make it the tallest building in Whistler?" asked Councillor Ken Melamed, after the presentation.

He was told that the hotel will be about three metres shorter than the nearby Pan Pacific Hotel. Council was also told that though the building is higher than the permitted height for the TA-8 zone, it does not compromise the critical views of the mountains with that height.

At the presentation representatives of the project explained that the views of Wedge and Blackcomb Mountains will be protected due to the design of the building.

The hotel has also been designed with an employee-housing component of roughly 24 units to be used by the Pan Pacific, which is about the number of employees needed for the new hotel.

Council expressed concern about the employee housing because it encroaches on an existing road right-of-way. It will therefore need the approval of both the municipality and the Ministry of Transportation.

It could be a lengthy process to approve the employee-housing component of the development and therefore it is not a condition of the development permit approval. Intrawest has said however, that if the process to get the employee housing is unsuccessful they will then pay the Employee Works and Services charges, as laid out in the bylaw.

A council decision on Monday night also required Intrawest to pay more than $1.5 million to make up for the parking stall shortfall at the hotel.

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