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Bunbury land deal still uncertain



Proponent asks for change to $1 million donation after land deal falls through

Alex Bunbury’s deal to sell portions of his 10-acre Creekside property has collapsed after delays to get the land rezoned.

The deal would have seen a $1 million cash donation to the Housing Reserve Fund for the creation of new resident housing in the community. This $1 million equals 12 per cent of the proposed sale price. But the deal hinged on the land being rezoned by the end of October.

"It was a done deal, everything was in place," Bunbury said Monday after a public hearing on a bylaw to rezone his property.

"The deal fell through because it wasn’t zoned."

He said this deal had been on the table since April.

Now with the collapsed contract and the uncertainty of the real estate market, Bunbury has asked for a change in his rezoning application.

The new application, which was presented by planner Sharon Jensen on Monday, states that Bunbury is prepared to donate 12 per cent of the property purchase price when he gets a sale.

Jensen added that the change in the application is really a safety factor in case the sale price drops.

After the meeting Bunbury said the application is not finalized and they are still in negotiations with the municipality as to what the deal may or may not be.

"We cannot commit until we have a sale," he said.

Councillor Kristi Wells, who was acting as mayor at the hearing, said that council would not be voting on the application on Monday. Generally council does not vote on applications if new information comes up at the public hearing.

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly had earlier excused himself from the proceedings because he is in conflict with one of the zoning bylaw changes on the land, which involves residential tourist accommodation.

Bunbury, a long-time Whistler property owner, approached the municipality with a purchase proposal that called for the development of four large homes on the 10-acre property.

One of those lots would be connected to the Kadenwood development and the other three lots would be lower on the property, close to Bear Creek.

Bunbury has the bed units for three of the four homes.

In order to get his land rezoned for the development, Bunbury offered a number of things to sweeten the deal.

In addition to the $1-million donation to the Housing Reserve Fund, he offered a cash donation of $300,000 to a local non-profit community organization, half of the 10-acre property would be dedicated for conservation and he would build a nature hiking trail to link various developments in the area.