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
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
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.