The first three months of 2016 have been uncharacteristically busy for the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) building department, marked by a 31-per-cent increase in new files received over the same time frame last year.
"Typically, what we've seen in the past is the April to September months are the busiest months for new applications into the building department, but the first quarter results for 2016 are showing that that trend may change for 2016," said senior planner Melissa Laidlaw in a report to council on May 3.
The building department received 306 new files in the first quarter, up from 233 in 2015.
"Information requests at 136 and building permits at 79 continue to represent the largest number of file types, and this is consistent with previous quarterly updates," Laidlaw said.
The department also saw 79 building permit applications, as well as 60 for plumbing permits and 15 for demolition.
In total, the building department was working on 741 applications at the end of the first quarter, of which 373 were approved, none were denied and two withdrawn or cancelled, while 178 had received occupancy and 188 remained in progress.
"Applicants, particularly building permit applicants, seem to be listening to the annual building permit campaign to get applications in early," Laidlaw said.
The planning department, meanwhile, saw a slight decrease in Q1 activity, receiving only 45 new applications compared to 62 in Q1 2015.
"Development permit applications (with 10 new files) continue to represent the largest number of application types, and this is consistent with previous quarterly updates to council," Laidlaw said.
"And the previous quarterly updates have shown that the January to June months are the busiest months for new applications to the planning department."
The planning department had 110 applications being processed in the first quarter, of which 23 were approved, two were denied, three were withdrawn or cancelled and 82 remained in progress.
There were also 32 active rezoning and development permit applications at the time of the report's writing — 14 under active review, two on hold as they required OCP amendments and 16 in the hands of applicants to address staff comments.
RMOW SEEKS LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION
The RMOW is inviting proposals for a License Plate Recognition (LPR) system for parking enforcement in Day Lots 1 to 3, as the existing LPR service contract is ending.
The LPR system allows bylaw officers to enforce unpaid tickets by scanning license plates in a vehicle.
The RMOW hopes the LPR system will improve customer service, increase parking revenue (by decreasing unpaid parking), increase mobility, make better use of staff resources and integrate with other technology.
The RMOW owns Day Lots 1 to 5 in Whistler Village and manages their operations in conjunction with Whistler Blackcomb.
Parking revenue in Day Lots 1 to 3 was $982,344 in 2015 and $861,539 in 2014.
The RMOW doesn't have an estimate on potential increases to parking revenue once the new system is in place.
A Request for Proposals was issued for the LPR on April 26 and closes May 26.