Despite one setback involving a defective pipe, work on the Alpine water main replacement project went rather swimmingly in 2015.
Listing off all of the roads in Alpine that got the new pipes installed this year — from Upper Alpine Way to Upper Rainbow Drive and everything in between — Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden had to stop and take a breath.
But that's not to say the work is done.
"There were some areas that did not get finished that were expected to be finished in 2015, and they've been rescheduled for next year," Wilhelm-Morden said.
"As soon as we can get into the ground in the spring, the next part of the contract will be let and away they will go, and the expectation is that all of the work will be finished in the summer of 2016 with the final repaving occurring in 2017."
Being a resident of Alpine herself, Wilhelm-Morden was no stranger to the traffic disruptions that resulted from the project, though she personally didn't find them to be inconvenient.
She also wasn't aware of any complaints from the public.
"Sometimes leaving by car or trying to get back by car you would have to take a little tour around Alpine Meadows to get home, and sometimes you had to stop and wait while something was finished so there would be a two or three or four minute delay, but I didn't personally receive any complaints from anybody, and my personal experience was a good one," she said.
But replacing the original, cast-iron pipes with PVC will come with big benefits, the mayor said.
"The original iron pipes were put in in the '70s, and I had received numerous complaints about rusty water, about sheets and clothing being stained by rust," she said.
"This new project will result in noticeably improved drinking water, improved water flow and pressure, lower community energy costs, so there are lots and lots of benefits to this program."
Other similar projects that could take place in the coming years involve the water mains under White Gold and Alta Vista, Wilhelm-Morden said.
"Some of these original subdivisions still have some of the original infrastructure so they may well be in the program for replacement as well," she said.
"The utilities department has planned ahead for savings for these projects, so they're thinking in the three-to-five-year term as well."
Work done on the project in 2015 was completed by Ponte Bros Contracting, whose $3.7 million bid for the contract was the lowest of four.
JOE PAUL RETIRES, JAMES HALLISEY PROMOTED
After 25 years of service with the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), manager of infrastructure services Joe Paul is retiring.
James Hallisey, who has worked for the RMOW under various titles for 13 years, will take his place.
"(James) has been working in the infrastructure services division and has held the roles of capital projects engineer, manager of engineering, manager of environmental projects, and his most recent position, manger of transportation and solid waste," Wilhelm-Morden said at the Dec. 15 council meeting.
In thanking Paul for his service, Wilhelm-Morden acknowledged his common sense approach and "institutional" memory.
"Joe's contributions to the growth of Whistler are vast, and he was instrumental in building some of the foundational infrastructure in this community," she said.
"He had a direct role in many of the major development projects that made Whistler what it is today. Joe's work and his leadership leaves a legacy of sound planning and innovation that will live on for many years to come."
WHA ZONING BYLAW PASSES; SHIPPING CONTAINERS, MEADOW PARK SPORTS CENTRE RATES BYLAWS ADOPTED
After a public hearing Dec. 15 at which nobody spoke — and with no negative responses received in writing — the RMOW passed third reading of a zoning amendment bylaw related to the Whistler Housing Authority's (WHA) proposed development on Cloudburst Drive in Cheakamus.
The amendment reallocates siting area and densities, dwelling units and permitted uses between two lots.
Eventually, the lots will be home to the WHA's $5.5 million, 100-bed employee rental apartment building.
Also at the Dec. 15 meeting, council adopted a zoning amendment bylaw banning shipping containers in residential areas.
Staff is now working on an enforcement plan for the bylaw.
Council also adopted a bylaw related to Meadow Park Sports Centre fees.
The new fee schedule goes into effect January 1. Drop-in admission prices for adults will increase by 25 cents in 2016 and again in 2018.
All other admission fees will increase an average of 1.5 per cent over the next four years.
The RMOW is also introducing affordability measures for the centre, including decreasing the price of six-month passes from $326 to $318.75 and annual passes from $577.50 to $535.50.
For more information head to www.whistler.ca/media/news/meadow-park-sports-centre-update-fee-schedule-january-1-2016.
WILHELM-MORDEN HONOURED WITH QUEEN'S COUNSEL DESIGNATION
When she's not performing her duties as Whistler's mayor, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden is apparently a pretty good lawyer — as evidenced by the rare distinction she received on Dec. 18.
Wilhelm-Morden was one of 39 lawyers appointed the honorary title of Queen's counsel by Attorney General Suzanne Anton.
"It's an honour to be nominated for it, and then to be chosen really is humbling," Wilhelm-Morden said. "It means a great deal to me."
Wilhelm-Morden said she was nominated by one of her law partners.
Only seven per cent of practicing B.C. lawyers can be awarded the designation of QC.
"The QC designation is given to lawyers who have shown professional integrity, excellence in the practice of law, and who have contributed to their communities and the legal profession in meaningful ways," Anton said in a release. "This year's recipients are exemplary contributors to our justice system and our province."