News » Whistler


Single family employee lots proposed A proposal to create 23 single family employee housing lots, eight large market lots and dedicate more than 10 acres in the Adventures West area to green space and park received a preliminary blessing from council Monday. The Barnfield Farm employee and market housing project has been proposed by Whistler resident Steve Bayly for five parcels totalling approximately 25 acres. The lands, all zoned RR1, are owned by McDonald’s of Canada Ltd. A year ago a proposal by Norwood Construction to develop 22 single family lots, ranging in size from 1/2 acre to 1 1/2 acres, on the five parcels was turned down. Dubbed the Freestyle proposal, because Norwood had offered to build a $750,000 training facility at Blackcomb for the national freestyle team, the project drew 300 people to a public hearing, most of whom were opposed to the lands component of the proposal. Bayly says his proposal was shaped in response to the environmental review of the lands commissioned by the municipality for the Freestyle proposal. The properties border some significant wetlands along the River of Golden Dreams. The Barnfield proposal includes enhancing the existing flood plain marsh by creating a pond, similar to the Buckhorn pond on the Valley Trail. The intent being to keep the wetland area alive, rather than just preserve it. A wildlife corridor green belt is also proposed, to provide a link from the River of Golden Dreams wetlands to the Blueberry Hill parklands. An area of old growth timber is also to be protected, while a tree preservation covenant and exterior building colour restrictions would be placed on the one large lot which will be partially visible from Alta Lake. Bayly has been working with the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment on the proposal and has contracted the environmental consultants who worked on the Freestyle proposal. Single family employee housing lots are proposed, rather than townhouses, to keep the density of development low. The 23 employee housing lots are proposed for four of the 25 acres and are on the least environmentally-sensitive land. The lots are smaller than normal and Bayly has proposed limiting the houses to a maximum 1,800 square feet. Through the size restriction and the employee occupancy covenant he feels the houses will remain affordable. A lot price of $75,000-$80,000 has been discussed. The eight large single family lots would be sold at market value. Houses would be a maximum of 5,000 square feet. The decision to allow eight single family lots (48 bed units) is a compromise based on what could be built on the five parcels without rezoning. Five single family houses (30 bed units) or five hostels (60 bed units) could be built without any rezoning. The proposal also includes providing parking for the existing Adventures West development. Adventures West currently uses part of one of the five lots for parking. Council Monday advised planning staff to continue processing the rezoning application but have yet to hear all the details of the project. The proposal is generally supported by members of the Whistler Valley Housing Society.