News » Whistler

Alta Vista residents opposed to

RMOW, neighbourhood visions for Lakeside Park hinge on commercial tour operators



By Andrew Mitchell

The latest step in the Lakeside Master Plan Process and Alta Lake Access Evaluation took place on Tuesday with an open house showcasing concepts that were refined from a previous open house and online survey.

But according to some Alta Vista residents, it was another step in the wrong direction.

“We’re not opposed to the idea of upgrading the park, we’re just opposed to commercial activity in our neighbourhood,” said Linda Seifred, a Lakeside Road resident who has helped to organize local opposition to municipal plans through a property owners’ association. “They presented three different options for the park at that open house, and all three options included commercial activity… We only have a problem with the commercial activity that is being encouraged by council.”

Specifically, the residents are concerned with plans to offer a canoe/kayak rental concession at the park, which would operate in addition to the current commercial use of the boat put-in at the end of nearby Carleton Way.

The park has had a commercial operator in the past, which residents say created traffic, noise, parking problems and other inconveniences for the neighbourhood. They don’t believe commercial concessions are appropriate for public parks.

For their part, Seifred says most Alta Vista residents believe that Rainbow Park is more suitable for commercial operators, given its size, proximity to the entrance to the River of Golden Dreams, and the fact it’s not located in a residential neighbourhood.

In an online survey after the first open house in July, 59 per cent of respondents said that a commercial concession for watercraft was “very appropriate” for Rainbow Park, and 15 per cent said it was “satisfactory”. By way of comparison, only 37 per cent said Lakeside was very appropriate, while 30 per cent said it was satisfactory.

However, almost 50 per cent of survey respondents listed Lakeside Park as their closest Alta Lake park, and nearly 40 per cent live in Alta Vista.

Seifred says that residents do not object to tourists and other residents from outside the neighbourhood using the park — the proximity to the village and Valley Trail ensures that it will always attract visitors through the summer months. Most residents are used to the added traffic on the road and Valley Trail in the summer.

“This is what we want… Rainbow Park, anybody can go over there, they can have the volleyball, the canoe rentals, a concession, and do the whole party thing, and that’s fine with us, that’s what some people want. What there is a need for here in Whistler is a park where tourists and families can go that’s a quiet environment. Maybe with a little play area for children, which is appropriate for a family-oriented residential format.