Overall satisfaction slips again in Community Life Survey 

Council briefs: Cannabis cultivation bylaw; Creekside Plaza housing agreement

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - SLIPPING SATISFACTION Overall satisfaction with life in Whistler declined for the second straight year in 2017, according to the annual Community Life Survey.
  • Photo by Braden Dupuis
  • SLIPPING SATISFACTION Overall satisfaction with life in Whistler declined for the second straight year in 2017, according to the annual Community Life Survey.

For the second straight year, overall satisfaction with life in Whistler is slipping, according to the annual Community Life Survey (CLS) conducted by Forum Research Inc.

While 88 per cent of permanent residents said they were either "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with Whistler as a place to live, the number of those who said they were very satisfied fell 16 percentage points, from 61 per cent last year to just 47 per cent in 2018.

Highest satisfaction ratings among permanent residents were recorded for access to recreation trails (97 per cent), opportunities for recreational activities (96 per cent) and ability to get around by bike or on foot (94 per cent).

The lowest ratings were found on access to learning opportunities (42 per cent), ability to travel to and from Whistler on Highway 99 (64 per cent) and ability to get around Whistler by personal vehicle (69 per cent).

There were no significant increases in satisfaction levels in any area.

Unsurprisingly, permanent residents listed housing as the most important issue facing the community (57 per cent), followed by transportation (16 per cent, down from 26 per cent in 2017).

Among second homeowners, 92 per cent of respondents said they are satisfied with Whistler as a place to spend time, with the majority (60 per cent) saying they are very satisfied.

The results were posted to www.whistler.ca/stay-connected/surveys just before the June 5 council meeting, and presented to council as part of Chief Administrative Officer Mike Furey's Corporate Plan/Annual Report.

Have a look at the results for yourself, then pick up next week's Pique for reaction from the community.

CANNABIS CULTIVATION BYLAW GETS FIRST TWO READINGS

Staying in step with provincial and federal legislation, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) will allow residents to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes when recreational cannabis becomes legal later this summer.

A zoning amendment bylaw that would permit home cannabis cultivation received first two readings at the June 5 council meeting, with a public hearing to follow.

In Whistler's proposed bylaw, landlords, property owners and strata councils would be able to restrict or prohibit home growing as they see fit.

Home cultivation of medicinal cannabis under the Access to Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes Regulation will not be affected by the new bylaw.

Regardless of adoption date, the new bylaw won't take effect until provincial and federal cannabis laws come into force, meaning anyone caught growing recreational cannabis in the meantime faces serious legal consequences.

The new bylaw also won't exempt anyone from current health and safety codes.

"It's important to note that this bylaw, first and foremost, does not take effect until provincial and federal cannabis laws come into force, so in no way does this authorize or create any kind of grey area that legalizes cannabis home cultivation prior to the federal government making it legal in Canada," said senior planner Jake Belobaba in a presentation to council.

"And just so we're abundantly clear, we do want to point out that anyone who intends to grow cannabis once it's legalized has to understand all of the rules that apply, and someone who doesn't follow those rules or starts to cultivate prior to this being a legal activity in Canada is risking some pretty serious consequences including criminal prosecution, fines and eviction."

CREEKSIDE PLAZA HOUSING AGREEMENT

While the owners of the visually prominent corner at Highway 99 and Lake Placid Road—otherwise known as Creekside Plaza—work towards redeveloping the property, the RMOW is set to enter into a housing agreement related to the project.

The project seeks to replace the old Boston Pizza/Rosie's House structure with a new building that includes commercial space on the ground floor and employee housing on top.

Owners Creekside Plaza Ltd. propose four one-bedroom units to house eight employees onsite.

A Housing Agreement Bylaw given first two readings at the June 5 council meeting stipulates that the units be for rental only, not owner-occupied, not subdivided, occupied pursuant to a tenancy agreement and, in the event of a vacancy, that the units' availability for lease or rental be diligently advertised.

The owners will also have to inform the RMOW in writing of availability of the units for rental and seek municipal help to find tenants.

The owners originally hoped to relocate the BC Liquor Store from across the street on Franz's Trail as part of the redevelopment project—a request that was denied by council at its March 6 meeting.

The owners hope to move forward with the project this spring.

BREWHOUSE RENOVATIONS APPROVED

The Whistler BrewHouse is set for a facelift after council approved a Development Permit for the property on June 5.

All sides of the building will see replacement or refurbishment of siding materials under the permit, as well as replacement of most windows.

After a presentation to council, Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden inquired about the construction schedule.

"This is really such an important building and patio in the summer, and we want to keep disruption to a minimum," she said.

The proponents are hoping to start as soon as possible, said planner Amica Antonelli.

"Normally, on the stroll, construction is not encouraged in July and August, but because of the scale of this project they're proposing that it start as soon as they have permission, and it would probably continue on until around November (or) December," Antonelli said, noting that the proponents have "various strategies" for limiting impact on the Village Stroll.

"They would have screening around anything that would be near the stroll or visible from the Olympic rings, so that people would still have options for photos without it being negatively impacted," Antonelli said.

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