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Biggest capital spending program draws to close

Council praises staff for projects on time and within budget



More than $76 million in capital investment has been pumped into Whistler recently in several large development projects ranging from sewer plant upgrades to parking lot paving.

The municipality has been responsible for $54 million of that money, the rest coming for outside funding and grants.

After an update Tuesday to council detailing the work, Councillor Eckhard Zeidler took time to praise staff in working through the largest capital expenditure program in Whistler's history.

"Everything is largely on time and on budget with contingency left over," he said.

"You made it look easy, you really did, and I know it wasn't."

Mayor Ken Melamed was also quick with praise. He pointed out that the sheer size of the capital budget was not the reason why taxes are going up 20 per cent over three years.

The biggest project by far is the upgrading of the wastewater treatment plant next to the athletes' village and new Olympic legacy neighbourhood Cheakamus Crossing.

Of the almost $38 million wastewater project, more than $12 million came from an infrastructure grant. The project is near completion with the last major component for odour control to be installed by the end of the month.

"Through October we should see some noticeable improvements in the odour that comes off the treatment plant," said James Hallisey, manager of environmental projects with the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Other significant infrastructure projects include the $7 million upgrade to the 21 Mile Creek water system, which includes a new pump station on Alta Lake Road. That project is near completion.

Close by, another $5 million was pumped into the Lorimer Road pipeline near the Valley Trail on the way to Rainbow Park. That project will be a significant improvement in maintaining fire protection levels in municipal reservoirs. It too is nearing completion.

There are other projects closely related to 2010 Games preparation including the paving of the day skier lots, the development of the Whistler Medals Plaza and the revamping of the Fitzsimmons Upper Village Connector.

All projects appear to be within time and budget.



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