Rainbow’s new site plan makes the mark 

Staff plans to bring bylaws forward next month

Municipal staff is now "cautiously optimistic" about the future of the proposed Rainbow residential subdivision.

In the last eight weeks significant revisions have been underway on the site plan, marking a substantial improvement from the last version of the plan.

While the general outline of the project remains the same – more than 300 residential units of employee housing, some market housing and a fairly large commercial core – the layout has improved to avoid major cuts and fills on the steep sections of the site.

"At this point we’re very cautiously optimistic that all the pieces seem to be falling quite nicely into place," said the municipality’s general manager of planning and development, Bob MacPherson, at Tuesday’s council meeting.

He is hopeful council will see the bylaws for the first time in roughly four weeks.

"That’s what we’re working like hell to make happen," he said.

And while there is still a lot of work to do between first reading of the bylaws and their ultimate adoption by council, MacPherson suggested site preparation could begin at Rainbow this summer at the developers’ risk. That means the developers will have no official guarantee the project will be approved.

"There is that possibility that some work can start this summer," said MacPherson.

Councillor Tim Wake questioned how the athletes village project, which was far behind Rainbow at one point, is now further along in the rezoning process. How has one leapfrogged the other, he asked.

MacPherson explained that while both projects have had their challenges, the athletes village site in the Lower Cheakamus is arguably a much easier site to develop. And Rainbow ran into problems in early 2006 as municipal staff raised several concerns with the developer’s site plan as proposed.

Council thanked staff for their work in getting the project back on track after it seemed like it was going to falter during the "dark days of January."

MacPherson, however, deflected the praise towards the developers.

He said: "The easy thing (for the developers) to do would have been to talk away from this."

Mayor casts tiebreaking vote on Bunbury proposal

In his first tiebreaker vote as mayor, Ken Melamed defeated a new version of an ongoing rezoning attempt by Alex Bunbury.

Bunbury owns a swath of land above Creekside on Whistler Mountain.

His latest proposal to council was that he be allowed to build two 5,000 square foot homes (the largest legal size which can be built in the resort municipality) and get council to legitimize once and for all zoning for the three homes already on the land. The land is only zoned for one home although the municipality recognizes there are 18 bed units on the site and therefore room for three legal but non-conforming 3,500 square foot homes.

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