Residents of a secluded residential street in Alpine Meadows say the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) new alpine trail network is causing unintended problems.
"Our quiet residential street has morphed into a parking lot, campground and picnic spot—complete with a porta potty," said Janet Hart, a longtime resident of the area.
The problem stems from the fact that one of the entrances to the RMOW's new alpine trail network lies at the end of a tree-lined cul-de-sac at the end of upper Mountainview Drive. The entrance leads to the popular SkyWalk Trail.
According to Hart, the new trails have led to an uptick in illegal parking in her neighbourhood.
During the Labour Day long weekend, there were around 50 vehicles parked on upper Mountainview Drive, she said.
Many people are parking on the odd side of the road, in contravention of Whistler's bylaws, said Hart, adding that she's seen examples of people parking directly in front of two fire hydrants along the side of the road.
Hart is worried that things will get worse, as the spotlight of social media on the SkyWalk Trail is likely to increase traffic.
This summer, small tour buses began showing up, according to residents. The passengers would bring out tables and chairs and eat right on the street. "They have open-fire campstoves, where they're cooking breakfast and lunch," she said.
Hart said that cooking this way during an extreme fire danger rating posed a safety risk to the street, and she said she was told by the fire deparment that propane fires are not permitted on residential streets.
Hart and others are also displeased with a new addition to their neighbourhood—a blue portable toilet that sits at the trail entrance.
"Would you want to have it?" asked Marianna Orr, who has lived on the street for the past 30 years and said the increased traffic is killing the quiet vibe.
"(You) go out for a nice walk on the street, and there's a big porta potty at the end."
Orr added that she is concerned that the word is getting out that Mountainview Drive is a good place to camp overnight.
"It's now getting out there amongst the young kids and people who live in their cars," she said.
Both Orr and Hart said that the RMOW failed to consult with them before greenlighting the alpine trail network.
According to Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, a thorough planning process went into developing the trails.
"There was significant community consultation throughout this whole process," she said.
"Nobody went door to door on Mountainview—that's true ... but there were council meetings, committee meetings, on and on and on."
Wilhelm-Morden noted that the RMOW is advancing plans to approve a new parking lot near the trailhead for both Into the Mystic and Lord of the Squirrels trails.
It would be located under the BC Hydro transmission lines, between Stonebridge Drive and Nita Lake Drive, and would be accessed by Alta Lake Road.
Wilhem-Morden said the lot should take some of the pressure off Mountainview Drive.
The project is being targeted for completion before next summer, the mayor noted.
As for the portable toilet, Wilhelm-Morden said that the reasons it was installed are "self-evident."
"This is a separate issue from the parking," she said. "Even if there are no cars parked there at all, there are certainly going to be hikers and cyclists who are going to be accessing that trail."
Hart said expanding the parking lot is great, but the RMOW also needs to "step up its enforcement" on Mountainview Drive and tow vehicles when needed.
"If people are still going to park, we haven't solved the problem," she said.