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In your weekly blizzard report: yes, Whistler is getting a Dairy Queen. And yes they will have a patio along the Village Stroll.

Council unanimously agreed to the proposal, which will allow the joint Dairy Queen and Orange Julius to fill half the space currently occupied by Activity Central in the Tyndall Stone Lodge. It will also allow a patio to encroach municipality property.

The council report stated that the "patio license and encroachment agreement will enable increased activity and animation" to occur along the stroll. However, several councillors expressed concern that the Dairy Queen might not be an "authentic Whistler experience."

"This is the least authentic Whistler experience," said Councillor Chris Quinlan, adding that despite the "brilliant marketing" of the store's owners to place the ice cream store across from the Olympic Plaza playground,  "there's something wrong with this."

Councillor Tom Thomson wondered if the "proprietors would make this a Whistler Dairy Queen, not just a regular Dairy Queen," something McDonald's has done in places around the world to embrace the location's culture.

The agreement states that Dairy Queen's furniture cannot be emblazoned with corporate logos and must fit in with the overall aesthetic of Whistler Village. Staff said they would be in discussions with the proprietors over their choice of furniture.

Councillor Ralph Forsyth said he was "happy to support" the proposal.

"These are local businessmen who bought a franchise and are investing their money in our town, that's a good thing and we're a partner with business. It will provide animation to the village," he said.


Library services are up

After the first full year in the new building, the Whistler Public Library has seen increases in almost all avenues of operation.

The collection has increased 10 per cent from 2008 to 2009 for a total of 52,868 items, while circulation increased by 34 per cent. More than 170,000 items were check out and foot traffic increased by 20 per cent, to 297,488.

Library Director Lauren Stara told council in her presentation Tuesday night that both revenues and expenditures are down, due primarily to impacts of donations and expenses related to the building's construction.

She said that library-generated revenue went up over 2008, from $56,983 to $72,982.

"We have one of the finest libraries in the province, I truly believe that, and I would like to thank council for helping to achieve that," said Alex Nicoll, chair of the board of trustees of the library.

"Libraries are free, one of the few free services left in the world, and we hope to keep it that way."

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