Cheakamus Crossing residents are breathing a sigh of relief.
After close to two years of protesting the fact that the asphalt plant on the fringe of their neighbourhood was operating without proper zoning they learned last night that Whistler Council had told the plant it had to move.
The order to leave the area, where Alpine has been operating since the mid 1990s, was sent in a letter from Resort Municipality of Whistler lawyers Lidstone and Company on April 11.
Council, in a complete about-face of its direction to date, stated in the letter that operations must cease by May 13 because "the operation of the asphalt plant ... on the Site is contrary to the applicable zoning enactment."
For resident Sebastian Fremont, who moved into his new home in the fall, that news means there's "a light at the end of the tunnel."
"I know personally that I was nervous about what was going to happen this spring," he said, referring to when the plant would be up and running again after the winter.
"It comes as a little bit of a surprise but at the same time, (I'm) super happy."
If Alpine Paving does not comply with the request, council will consider all the enforcement powers at its disposal.
That position flies in the face of council's earlier position that, based on legal opinions, Whistler could be sued if it shut down the long-operating plant or forced it to move.
When asked after the meeting what he would say to the wider community of Whistler, all of whom have been told for the last year and a half that they could be on the hook in a lawsuit, the mayor said: "That possibility remains."
He later added:
"I suppose it's safe to say we're moving into uncharted territory."
Alpine Paving's owner Frank Silveri has acknowledged the order to stop operations, said the mayor.
"We're waiting confirmation of his position in response to the cease and desist," he added.
Pique was unable to reach Silveri fro comment by deadline.
Tim Koshul, the spokesperson for the No Asphalt Plant (NAP) group, dismissed the possibility of losing in court if it ever makes it that far. To Koshul, who has painstakingly delved into every nook and cranny of this case, the issue is black and white: Alpine Paving does not have the required zoning to operate.
"(I'm) ecstatic," said Koshul of council's decision.
"It's been a long year and a half of fact checking.