New plan for Wedge crosses highway 

No resolutions to development size concerns

By Alison Taylor

Developers have found another way to maximize the development potential on their Wedge lands immediately north of Whistler.

A new subdivision plan for Green River Estates spreads the 108-home development throughout the 600-acre parcel of land, on both the east and west sides of Highway 99 as the zoning allows.

The plan was submitted to the Ministry of Transportation after the developer’s attempt at rezoning which would have seen all the homes to be built on the east side of the highway was stymied at the regional district in September.

Through that rezoning the developers hoped to build all 108 homes on just the east side of the highway despite the fact they were only given the go-ahead to build 64 homes on that portion of their land. With that rezoning came the developer’s offer to increase its community benefit contribution from $1.1 million to almost $2.5 million.

But, due in large part to Whistler’s negative reaction to the rezoning, the regional district board deferred making a decision.

Developers have presented an alternative and now they don’t need rezoning from the SLRD.

“I actually preferred the other plan (with the homes only on the east-side),” said SLRD Board Chair John Turner, upon learning of the new subdivision plan this week. “It’s a more compact community and in fact it’s a lot smarter, I feel, than trying to spread out the development over both sides to get the number of units. I do appreciate that they’re going to need X-number of units in order to pay for the infrastructure that they’re putting in.”

But Whistler has taken an aggressive stance against any attempts at rezoning that would increase the number of homes on the land.

Whistler council accepts the developer has the right to build 64 homes on the east side. It is against any plans to rezone the east-side land for 108 homes.

The matter is further complicated by the fact that the lands are part of a RMOW boundary expansion proposal and could one day be a part of Whistler rather than Area C of the SLRD.

Mayor Ken Melamed who has vociferously opposed the rezoning at the SLRD board table questioned whether building on the west side of the highway was even achievable, referring to an earlier SLRD staff report that called the lands “practically un-developable.” That report from staff also recommended that the rezoning to increase the density on the east side not go ahead.

“You could say it’s another chess move in the ongoing game, if you will, about how we’re going to resolve this issue about the development on the edge of our town and what we fully expect to be within our boundaries,” said Melamed.

“What that says to me is that we’re not going to get a speedy resolution to the boundary expansion because we thought we had a subdivision application to go forward on….”

A meeting between Whistler and SLRD staff and the developers Wednesday did not produce any resolutions to the issue.

Developer David Ehrhardt could not be reached for comment before press time Wednesday.

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