Misuse of Whistler's Lost Lake trails will get you a $100 fine 

No walkers, runners, hikers — and no fatbikes

click to enlarge PHOTO BY TOSHI KAWANO COURTESY OF TOURISM WHISTLER - NORDIC ONLY The RMOW is considering fines to keep the Lost Lake trails for Nordic use only.
  • NORDIC ONLY The RMOW is considering fines to keep the Lost Lake trails for Nordic use only.

Runners, hikers, and walkers could face a $100 fine if caught using the Lost Lake cross country and snowshoe trails during the winter season.

Council gave the first three readings to a bylaw amendment Tuesday night, which looks to give more teeth to the municipality to protect its Nordic asset and ban certain trail users.

"In the last week (we) have had all those things happen on the trails," said Roger Weetman, the RMOW's manager of recreation.

"We want to maintain that positive Nordic experience for our skiers."

Boot holes in the thin snowpack pose a risk to all users.

The bylaw amendment also applies to dog-walkers and snowmobilers and also includes fatbikes, designed for winter trail riding.

While municipal staff considered the opportunity of allowing fatbikes at Lost Lake, ultimately it decided against it.

"(There's) no way of controlling where those bikes are going to go," said Weetman.

"It simply comes down to the carrying capacity of the trails."

There are other areas in the valley for all these activities, he said, adding that the municipality plans to contact bike rental stores to make them aware Lost Lake is off limits for fatbikes.

Ironically, he added, Lost Lake may close temporarily due to the warm weather before the final bylaw amendment can be passed into law.

If that's the case, other users can access the trails when it's not being used by cross country skiers and snowshoers.

WDC recommends long-term view for the future of Cheakamus

Rather than a large-scale fire sale to pay off the remaining debt resting with the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation its president is calling on Whistler to take a more cautious and patient approach.

Before council Tuesday night, Eric Martin, president of WDC, which built the athletes' village turned legacy neighbourhood at Cheakamus, asked council to approve the latest business plan, which takes a long-range look at the future.

Unlike the early years where there wasn't a lot of time for forward thinking in the rush to complete the village by the 2010 Games, this business plan and its development had the luxury of time.

"We're in a whole new era where we had time to contemplate the value of what had been created," said Martin.

It was a $163 million project, sitting on 35 acres of a 300-acre land bank, negotiated from the province for hosting the Games. It's up to the community to decide what to do with the remaining land.

"The land assets are many, many times that amount," said Martin.

Rather than rush to pay down the remaining debt - WDC owes the municipality roughly $10 million out of a total debt at one point of more than $115 million (held primarily with the Municipal Finance Authority) - the board of the WDC is urging a longer-term approach. And council agrees.

By 2017, the bulk of the remaining debt should be paid off, save two million dollars.

Martin said his biggest concerns were selling the units and the interests.

As it turned out, the development was quickly sold out and interest rates were low. He could not have predicted the financial meltdown of 2008, which has made selling the market inventory more challenging in recent years. However, the debt continues to be paid down.

WDC is paying interest on the money it borrowed from the municipality.

"This is a very timely document for us," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

"There's time to think about further investments."


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