More money for green points 

Fitzsimmons Walk developers Cressey Developments will get more money on the first sale of the resident-restricted apartments in the project if they achieve more green points.

That was the agreement struck for the 36 resident restricted apartment units during last week’s council meeting.

Cressey will receive $0.50 per square foot for their first 20 Whistler green points, $0.75 for the next 20 green points, and $1.25 for all other green points. The maximum first sale price will be capped at $205 per square foot.

Fitzsimmons Walk is a mix of market and resident restricted townhouses located on the former site of the Shoestring Lodge and Brew Pub. The resident restricted portion of the development is partly to fulfill an almost eight-year-old obligation of Cressey to build employee housing.

Two councillors, Eckhard Zeidler and Bob Lorriman, voted against the bylaw.

“It has always bothered me that we needed employee housing, and their (Cressey’s) commitment kept getting pushed back,” said Lorriman.

“I am challenged with rewarding a developer for dragging his butt, and the world changed in that process, and he still wants to be playing on a level playing field. I am worried what message that sends out.”

Typically the maximum price of the first sale is established so developers can recoup costs without making a profit, explained Guy Patterson, housing planner for the municipality.

Escalating construction costs, however, have caused developers to ask for an increase from the $155 per square foot price set in November 2007 when council adopted the zoning amendment.


Squamish-Whistler commuter to run year-round


The Resort Municipality of Whistler agreed last week to fund its half of costs to expand the Squamish-Whistler commuter into the summer season.

“B.C. Transit is providing 47 per cent of the operation costs,” said Emma DalSanto, traffic demand management coordinator for the municipality.

“From the 53 per cent share, costs will be split 50-50 between the RMOW and the District of Squamish. The revenue that comes from the fare box will also be part of that.”

The extra cost for Whistler in 2008 will be $31,000, taken from deferred contributions intended for transportation projects. The service is expected to cost $65,000 in 2009 and $77,350 in 2010.

Money for the project will also be incorporated into the budget for the next two years, although not beyond since the expansion is expected to end once the Olympics wrap up in 2010.

The District of Squamish approved its commitment to the service in February.

To help fund the operation, commuter fares will go up starting June 1. A single ride will now cost $5, up from $4.50. The price for a book of 10 will increase from $40 to $5, and the price for a monthly pass will rise from $130 to $145.


Doppler radar coming to Whistler for Games


Environment Canada will stage a Doppler radar system in Whistler for forecasting weather during the 2010 Olympics.

Environment Canada said the station’s location, on land next to the Waste Transfer Station, is ideal because it looks both towards the Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley and towards Olympic venues in Whistler. It will also allow the radar to forecast weather south along Highway 99.

Environment Canada has commissioned an environmental study of the area and will clean up the site after they leave and replant the area with natural vegetation, added James Hallisey manager of environmental projects for the municipality.

The weather radar application was unanimously approved by council last week.


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