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Asphalt plant negotiations quietly continue

Cheakamus residents brace for plant activity



As the summer asphalt production gears up in Whistler, behind the scenes negotiations are continuing.

Less than two weeks ago Whistler Aggregates owner Frank Silveri and the municipality's representative Eric Martin met to discuss the details of a general Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

"Our objective is to get a Memorandum of Understanding, a MOU, between us so we know we have something to move forward on, and we're hoping to do that in the next month or so," said Martin.

It's still very early stages — exploratory, cautioned Martin. For example, the idea of looking at new sites for the plant is not yet on the table.

"I think everyone's got a reasonably positive outlook trying to get somewhere, but like I said, it's too early to tell whether we're going to make any progress on that but we're hopeful," he added.

The meeting, which included the chief administrative officer at the municipality Mike Furey, is the second time the two sides have talked; there was an initial conference call in March to kick off discussions.

In early March the municipality announced it would not appeal January's court ruling that allows Whistler Aggregates to continue operating at its current site. The plant has long operated there and business only became a problem after residents moved into the new Olympic legacy neighbourhood Cheakamus Crossing, built beside the plant.

The RMOW challeneged the business operations last year but lost that challenge in the Supreme Court.

Silveri did not return calls by press time Wednesday but Martin said his understanding is that a new plant has been installed this year, complete with stringent air quality standards.

The next meeting between the two parties has not been scheduled. Martin is hoping to meet again by the end of May.

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