WDC winding down operations, but continues through 2011 

Still work to do at Cheakamus Crossing for municipal corporation

The end of 2010 saw the conclusion of a lot of contracts at the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation.

The agency is owned by the Resort Municipality and was tasked with building and selling the athletes' village properties at Cheakamus Crossing.

Joe Redmond, the president of WDC, stepped down as his three-year contract expired on Dec. 31. Several other prominent members of the corporation also stepped down recently as their contracts have expired.

The corporation was originally expected to wind down operations at the end of 2010, but has been kept alive through 2011 - and possibly into 2012 - as business is concluded.

The office currently has a staff of three, with chairman Eric Martin also taking on the role of president.

"The company is alive and well, and there are some ongoing obligations and responsibilities we have to fulfill yet," said Martin. "Our board has agreed to stay on, with all board members, for another year.

"One of the prime things we'll be doing is tidying up the financial details, and doing a year-end audit for 2010. Number two is that we still have three or four resident restricted units to sell. We have the market townhomes and the lots to market as well, which we'll be gearing up for in the next short while.

"We're also looking at the future development potential of some of the remaining lands. It hasn't been well-publicized, but we only built what we had to satisfy the athlete count for the Olympics, but there are a number of other sites we developed at the same time that we didn't build on, that is also part of the legacy."

WDC is also looking at the two commercial spaces that were built into the neighbourhood, which have yet to find tenants. One space is zoned for a pub and the other for a grocery store, and Martin confirmed that discussions are underway for both locations.

Because of the costs associated with converting the larger space, roughly 3,000 square feet, into a pub or restaurant, the WDC may be involved as a partner in the beginning.

"We had a designer in there yesterday (Jan. 12) looking at the layout, and we're looking at maybe partnering with an operator to get that space up and running - and then see from there if we want to sell it or hold onto it," said Martin.

"The grocery store (roughly 1,000 square feet) is a little different and would likely be a straight lease, and we've had some interest in that and some close discussions."

Another role of the WDC is fixing deficiencies reported by homebuyers, and representing Cheakamus Crossing residents when issues are related to the warranty on the homes.

The priority in the next month or so will be to amend and update the WDC's business plan, which will likely be posted on the website in February once the board approves.

"We'll look at how the numbers are sitting after 2010, and go from that point into the new phase," said Martin, who added that most of the board members have also agreed to stay on board through 2012 if there are still details to wrap up after this year. The board includes representatives from council, the RMOW, Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies, First Nations and Whistler Housing Authority.

The majority of athletes' housing in Cheakamus Crossing has been converted into resident restricted housing - both for purchase and for rent. Some townhouses and dorm-style accommodation has been set aside as athlete housing.

There are 20 market townhomes in the River Bend development, but the homes were pulled off the market in the fall after just one of the units sold. They will be reintroduced in the future.

As well, there are a total of 24 market lots in different areas, some of which are currently being developed. There are no plans yet to develop other areas of the subdivision, although they are included in Whistler's bed unit cap if there is a need for additional resident housing.




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