Mons Industrial Land clears major hurdle 

Several operations may be incorporated on site after project receives third reading

In a discussion reminiscent of past meetings, Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden reaffirmed her position Monday that the Mons Industrial Land proposal should not move forward until the community has been consulted.

“I don’t think it is appropriate for seven people sitting here at this table to say we are amending the OCP (Official Community Plan) and we are deleting community consultation,” said Wilhelm-Morden

“Yes the OCP is from 1993. Yes it is amended from time to time, but when something as significant as the location of the future industrial park is done without community consultation of a comprehensive sort, I do not think this is appropriate.”

Despite the concerns of Wilhelm-Morden and Mayor Ken Melamed, the rezoning application and OCP amendment from Steve Bayly and Nigel Woods received third reading Monday night in a 5-2 vote.

The proponents want to dock several “back of house” facilities on their 65,000 square metre space. These may include a new home for Whistler’s bus fleet, a fuel service station, motor vehicle maintenance and storage facility, highway maintenance facilities, a new home for Coastal Mountain Excavations and waste and recycling depot for household garbage. The site is currently zoned residential single estate.

Part of the issue is that little room is left in Function Junction for industrial use. During a public hearing last month, many business owners walked up to the podium and gave their support for the Mons Industrial application, saying that Function is no longer suitable for their needs.

Unfortunately Whistler’s 14-year-old official community plan states that all industrial-use companies can only be in Function Junction. If a second industrial park is needed, reads the OCP, it should also be south of the village.

Wilhelm-Morden said Function has become “gentrified” and councillors “need to step back, and do the planning that ought to have been done for the Function Junction area and industrial uses in general.”

Councillor Tim Wake did not echo Wilhelm-Morden’s concerns. He said that the Mons Industrial Lands is only one site — not an entire Industrial Park.

“It is going to have a few different uses on it that are consistent with the uses right across the highway from it,” he said referring to the Mons Sabre property across the highway from Bayly’s site.

  “An OCP is meant to be an enabling document, not a disabling document,” added Wake.

“We need to go ahead with this, and we need the rest of the planning to catch up.”

The property, which is triangular in shape, is situated just north of the municipal works yard on the west side of Highway 99, between the B.C. Hydro substation and the railroad tracks.

According to Bill Brown, manager of community planning for the municipality, there are no wetlands on the site, even though the site neighbours a red listed wetland.

Brown also said the road onto the site could be placed high enough to protect a cluster of sitka spruce trees on site. The developers also have committed to paying 50 per cent of the cost to build a road through the BC Hydro land.

  Brown added that the applicant must also submit a tree preservation plan to the municipality for review.

The mayor also opposed the rezoning, saying: “I do not think the planning has been done, and I am going to reference the retail study that was done for Whistler Village, which I think not only created some very useful information for the community, but also resulted in ground breaking decisions,” said Melamed.

“Council has no basis on which to reject or consider this. It shouldn’t be what I consider a knee jerk reaction. I don’t see any rush on this.”

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