News » Whistler

Asphalt plant to get cooling off period

Who will move to change the status quo is unclear



The status quo remains. The asphalt and quarry will stay put. There will be no new air emissions regulations and everything will carry on as it has for the last three years, all while more families move into Cheakamus Crossing.

This is not acceptable to anyone on council but at this point they don't all agree on how the matter can be settled.

One thing's clear, however - everyone needs to step back and let the issue settle for a few months.

"To me, this is just hitting the reset button. Now let's go back, if it takes a bit of time, to collect our thoughts and take deep breaths, that's fine," said Councillor Ralph Forsyth.

"But two things are very clear right now: we're not amending the OCP and changing our bylaws to rezone the applicant, so that's done. And the other thing is that the status quo is not acceptable either."

Following council's decision last week to defeat the proposal for the asphalt plant, Forsyth put a notice of motion forward to enforce the zoning bylaw at the site. This week he said he would withdraw the motion if staff come up with another deal to move forward with.

"The message needs to be sent that the status quo I keep hearing about is not an option."

Councillor Chris Quinlan, one of three council members to vote in favour of the rezoning bylaw, said that notice of motion will likely be rejected by council because the legal advice given to them has indicated there would be significant financial risk if the bylaw was enforced.

"Unabashedly, it would be completely irresponsible of this council to risk the financial position of the taxpayers of the RMOW by enforcing the zoning on the IP1. It would be completely irresponsible," he said.

Quinlan said Whistler is now stuck with the status quo and he's not too optimistic about future negotiations. Community members can take up noise and nuisance complaints, they can picket and protest, but Quinlan doesn't "have faith that these will be successful." Basically, there's nothing compelling Alpine Paving owner Frank Silveri to move now.

The rezoning bylaw would have moved the asphalt plant 150 metres, imposed tougher air emission standards and created a buffer for the community. All these elements are now off the table.

Quinlan said the quarry is a legally operating business that is "not up for consideration."

"There really is a misunderstanding out there that because that rezoning was defeated, that the business will be forced to move," he said. "As far as the municipality is concerned, there is not a direction to have him removed. There is certainly no indication that any of the financial liabilities have gone away."