Three-year goal to resolve asphalt plant 

Council makes move to control manufacturing

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Three years. That's the new timeline council has put on resolving the asphalt dispute at Cheakamus Crossing.

Of all the things council has set out to do this coming term, outlined in its newly released Council Action Plan, this was the only one where the mayor expressed her disappointed on the timeframe.But, she said, it's the reality.

"I'm disappointed that we've got a 36-month timeframe but we all are recognizing the reality of this," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

Cheakamus resident Tim Koshul, who was at the council meeting, said he plans to organize a meeting in March with residents to work on an action plan of their own.

"Keep the faith, quality of life must and will prevail," he posted to the Facebook Cheakamus Crossing community page.

Charged with finding the resolution at the municipality is CAO Mike Furey and the new Corporate and Community Services Division, led by Bob MacPherson.

When asked after the council meeting Tuesday if council was appealing the legal decision by the B.C. Supreme Court, which ruled on Jan. 31 that asphalt production is a permitted use in the IP1 zone, allowing Whistler Aggregates to continue its operations much to the dismay of the Cheakamus neighbourhood, the mayor said there had been no decision yet. Council has until Mar. 1 to decide if it will appeal that decision. Almost $600,000 has been spent to date in the efforts to relocate the plant, the bulk of which are legal fees for the unsuccessful court challenge.

The mayor would not confirm if staff or council members had met with the plant owner Frank Silveri to try to resolve the issue out of the courts.

"I don't want to comment on that," said the mayor.

Meanwhile, council is taking proactive steps to control manufacturing within its boundaries, sparked by the asphalt judgment.

Staff is now preparing an amendment to a bylaw that would prohibit asphalt plant uses and restrict concrete and cement product manufacturing to the IL2 zone.

"We've had a legal decision that has ramifications and this is dealing with part of those ramifications," said the mayor.

That bylaw will be considered at the next meeting on Mar. 6.

Municipal employment agreements up for review

As the municipal CAO Mike Furey outlined the restructuring of his top staff at the hall, he also alluded to more work underway with all employees.

The Employee Handbook, the subject of much discussion in the community, is now under review. The handbook details how the municipality deals with its non-union employees. It is updated every two years.

When asked if there was anything specific considered in this update, Furey said: "We're putting together our interests and talking internally about what we'll bring forward, but we haven't finalized those yet."

Collective bargaining is now underway with Whistler Fire Rescue, to update the last agreement which was from 2003-2010. There are 18 fire rescue employees covered in that contract. Negotiations are also expected to begin this year with CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees). Twenty-five municipal utilities and wastewater treatment plant workers are part of CUPE.


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