The pre-Olympic Blackcomb Way you once knew is gone, gone, gone forever.
Last week, council agreed to reconfigure the road, adjacent to Whistler Olympic Plaza. The centre median, removed prior to the Games, will not be reinstalled.
Instead, the southbound lane will be moved in to where the median was to create several pull-outs, or "flex areas," that can be used for parking, unloading equipment for concerts or any number of things that may be needed for events at the plaza.
The centre-island median on Blackcomb Way was removed prior to the 2010 Winter Games to enhance traffic movement. VANOC agreed to provide money to return the road to its previous configuration, but now the municipality has reconsidered.
"We were heading down a path where we were mechanically thinking about reinstalling what was already in there without giving much thought to it," said Joe Paul, manager of development services for the RMOW.
He said the median had caused problems for emergency vehicles in the past that will be solved with the new configuration. Snow clearing along the two separated lanes and maintenance of the median had also been issues in the past.
Increased animation in day-skier lots 4 and 5 and the shift in pedestrian traffic flow in that part of the village once the plaza is complete were major factors in the decision. The new configuration will allow for a more convenient pedestrian crossing and a streetscape in keeping with the Village North character.
There's no word yet on how much the reconfiguration will cost but Paul said it will not be much different from reinstalling the median.
Construction will begin in 2011 once Whistler Olympic Plaza is near completion.
Library services are up
After a full year in the new building, the Whistler Public Library has seen increases in almost all areas of operation.
The collection increased 10 per cent from 2008 to 2009 for a total of 52,868 items, while circulation increased by 34 per cent. More than 171,000 items were check out and foot traffic increased by 20 per cent to 297,488.
Library Director Lauren Stara told council in her presentation last week that both revenues and expenditures are down, due primarily to impacts of donations and expenses related to the building's construction.
She said that library-generated revenue went up over 2008, from $56,983 to $72,982.
"We have one of the finest libraries in the province, I truly believe that, and I would like to thank council for helping to achieve that," said Alex Nicoll, chair of the board of trustees of the library.
"Libraries are free, one of the few free services left in the world, and we hope to keep it that way."