whistler south 

By Bob Barnett The size and scope of Intrawest’s Whistler South plans are large enough they sparked a range of questions at Monday’s public hearing — from the value of public bed units vs. private bed units to a "compromised" school site — but the most popular topic was the proposed road to The Peaks subdivision. Several speakers among the approximately 75 people who attended the hearing raised concerns about the 1.8 km access road to The Peaks, a high-end, 60-lot subdivision above Creekside and one of three primary components of the Whistler South plan. The access road would require cut and fill construction techniques and would run behind residences on Cheakamus Way in Bayshores. Steve Nicholls was among the Cheakamus Way property owners who urged that another access route be found. "I oppose anything that puts more traffic and noise on our street," Nicholls said. Don MacLaurin suggested an access road to The Peaks from the proposed Spring Creek subdivision, south of Millar’s Pond. A road from the north end of Spring Creek, which is another part of the Whistler South plan, could also lead to Whistler Mountain’s future south-side access lift base, MacLaurin said. Several people spoke of the need for additional highway access points to Spring Creek and Millar’s Pond, particularly if the two subdivisions are ever connected. The proposed Spring Creek subdivision includes a number of community amenities, such as parks, Valley Trail connections, a day care centre, a fire hall and, perhaps most importantly, a graded site for another elementary school. Kai Kreuchen, a land use consultant representing Oka Holdings, a company which owns 105 acres on the opposite side of Highway from Spring Creek, questioned the whole notion of the Whistler South plans being "comprehensive" because they only include Intrawest’s lands. "We have attempted to discuss development options for the Oka Holdings lands for eight years with minimal success, and yet Intrawest is expedited through the process within less than 18 months," Kreuchen said. "The rezoning process is driven by the intent to open the elementary school in this area by September 2001," Kreuchen continued. "The date dictates the scheduling of this public hearing, third reading and adoption of the bylaw by the end of October. One must question council’s ability to maintain impartiality when some key decisions appear to have already been made." Kreuchen said the school site is smaller than minimum requirements usually allow, which means a number of compromises, including reductions in the size of play fields and play areas, reduced parking and bus space and a two storey school rather than one storey. Christine Yanisiw, an Intrawest employee, congratulated the company on the plan but objected to "the tactic of linking all three projects as one in order for the community to attain the amenities." Under the Whistler South Comprehensive Development Strategy council must approve the entire plan, which includes Spring Creek, The Peaks and redevelopment of the Creekside area, or reject it. Following the meeting others also questioned the need to deal with all three projects under one comprehensive bylaw. Gord McKeever said the Creekside plans were the most palatable he has seen over the years as a member of the Creekside Merchants Association. "If you tried to cram all 2,300 bed units (Intrawest’s remaining inventory) into Creekside you would create another village, and we don’t need that," McKeever said. However, MeKeever added he would like to see the buildings in the commercial area at Creekside strata titled so that small businesses have an opportunity to purchase their space. McKeever also suggested putting sections of the Valley Trail next to the highway will not work in the winter, when snowplows will deposit snow on the trail. As well, he suggested more consideration for buses and utilizing the train should be included in the plan. The Whistler South proposal utilizes about 1,694 bed units. Of that total 1,430 were supposed to be public bed units — available for nightly rental. However, in the Whistler South plan 540 of the 1,430 public bed units will become private bed units. Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden questioned staff on whether private bed units carried a higher value than public bed units. Senior planner Sharon Jensen replied that there is no policy which would put a value bed units but as an observation noted that the return on bed units in smaller units is less than the return on an equivalent number of bed units in larger single family houses.

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