RV park and campground proposed south of Whistler 

Garibaldi Group pitches idea to repurpose Olympic parking area opposite entrance to Callaghan Valley

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - site specific The Garibaldi Group is seeking feedback on its plans for a new RV park near the Callaghan Valley.
  • photo by braden dupuis
  • site specific The Garibaldi Group is seeking feedback on its plans for a new RV park near the Callaghan Valley.

a gravel parking lot that has stood empty alongside Highway 99 since the 2010 Olympics could soon be the site of a new RV park.

The Garibaldi Group—a subsidiary of the Delesalle Group, which recently purchased the land in question with Kilauea Investments—is currently seeking public feedback on the project, with an eye to submitting a formal rezoning application to Whistler's Municipal Hall this June.

The site is currently zoned for single-family residential, and the proposed plan includes an amenity building that will be equal to or smaller in size than the allowable density under the current zoning, said a spokesperson for the Garibaldi Group in an email, adding that current servicing plans for the site include power, sewer treatment, water and fire protection.

"Consistent with the plan to restore the site, our approach to servicing will focus on sustainable options and respect the environmentally sensitive land that surrounds the site," the spokesperson said.

"We just want to reiterate that while the majority of our responses to the public community's campaign remain positive, it is important to note that the Garibaldi Group did not clear the site and its current condition is a result of the parking lot that was cleared and covered for Olympic use."

Positioned opposite the entrance to Callaghan Valley, the proposed campground, called The Garibaldi Outpost, would not only serve as a year-round spot for campers, but would also host its own activities.

The current version of the project pitches a mountain bike skills area, outdoor exercise circuit, trails, and an outdoor climbing wall. A pond they hope to build could transform into a winter skating rink. Dogs would have their own secure park and a washing station. Amenities include a small store to get coffee and necessities.

"There aren't currently a lot of places—or any places—for someone in a motorhome to stop and stay and recreate in Whistler," said Calum Srigley, one of the designers working on the project with the Garibaldi Group (not to be confused with Garibaldi At Squamish).

"Families and dogs aren't always welcome in Whistler without a big price. It kind of comes down to affordability."

Srigley hopes that the plan for the area illustrates that it is more than just a camping spot, which some might have concerns about.

"When you talk about it being an RV park, a lot of people come to it with a certain preconception about what that is or isn't," he said, adding that the proponents hope the Outpost would serve as a hub not only for campers, but also for people dropping in on their way to or from the Callaghan area.

Strigley and designer Norbert Jakubke said their research has shown the demographic of RV users has shifted to younger people, including millennials and their families who want to take advantage of recreational opportunities in an affordable way.

The Callaghan Olympic parking lot was originally cleared to act as a shuttle parking lot for people to watch 2010 Olympic Games events hosted in Whistler.

"Currently, there doesn't seem to be any kind of vision for this area, and this land is languishing," Srigley said. "There are environmental consequences because it's not being cared for, the groundwater isn't being managed properly ... Some form of development like this would ensure that the land was cared for and was kept in good condition for whatever future use might happen."

Because there wouldn't be much infrastructure and the few buildings could easily be moved or disassembled, the designers said Outpost could be a transitional use for the space.

"It could make good use of an underused site and you're not doing anything that can't be taken away if it has to in a few years time," he said. "It can be implemented quickly and it can serve a need that has been identified for not only RV parking, but for affordable short-term housing."

With one or two permanent structures, there would be 36 spots for tents, 26 for trailers and six for RVs or motorhomes. A full-time manager would live onsite.

To give feedback on the plan, go to garibaldioutpost.com.


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