nesters hill 

Osprey a sign for Nesters Hill An osprey circling over the Nesters wetlands Monday afternoon was a sign for Councillor Ken Melamed. It turned out to be a sign for developers Sea to Sky Holdings, too. Despite a last minute offer to reduce the number of employee apartment units, delete one building lot and move the project back from neighbouring properties, Sea to Sky Holdings’ Nesters Hill project was denied third reading by council Monday night. However, councillors stressed they do not want to stop the development, but to reduce the project’s impact on the wetlands. Council’s instructions to staff were to work with the developer on a reconfiguration of the market lots. Of particular concern are the market strata-titled lots at the end of the proposed 27-lot subdivision. The strata-titled lots overlook the wetland. Sea to Sky Holdings had offered to reduce the number of strata lots from five to four (and the total number of lots from 27 to 26), but council sought more protection for the wetland. "I only recently became acquainted with the wetland area," Melamed said. "It’s quite a jewel." Melamed said he appreciated the "fabulous gesture" the developers have made by recognizing the wetland from the start and pulling the employee housing buildings back from that area. However, the project’s impact on the wetland is still unknown. "I feel like I’m being asked to make a decision in a vacuum," he said. Councillors toured the area Monday afternoon and it was there that the osprey was spotted circling over the wetland. "It’s a phenomenal wildlife habitat," Melamed said. "I don’t oppose this project per se, but I can’t in good conscience support it now." Councillor Dave Kirk said: "It’s reasonable to expect some development there, but I think it could be better. "I’d like to see if we can get this project to go ahead. I’m not trying to kill this project." Earlier in the day Sea to Sky Developments offered to reduce the number of employee apartment units in the project from 58 to 53, which would help pull one of the two apartment buildings back 26 feet from the neighbouring Nesters Road properties. That would move the Valley Trail back from the neighbouring properties, as well, and Sea to Sky Holdings agreed not to illuminate the Valley Trail. The developer also offered to build a fence along the neighbours’ property lines and to provide some planting. "I think the neighbourhood has been placated by the reduction in density," Kirk said. But a Nesters Road resident in attendance responded: "They are not." Bed units for the single family lots would be purchased by Sea to Sky Holdings from the province, which has development rights on an adjacent piece of land. The municipality would prefer to see the Sea to Sky Holdings site developed rather than the province’s site, which includes the top of Nesters Hill. The top of the hill is visible from many places in the Whistler Valley.

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