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By Alix Noble A private school slated to be built at the Whistler Kampground site may never materialize, although the company is prepared to go ahead. The original plans of developer Greenside Properties Inc. included 52 single family lots and a $13 million private school. The school was to be built at the campground site by David McKenzie's Whistler International Schools, which has been trying to get the Whistler school going for close to six years. Although the school is still waiting for final financing, McKenzie said this week, "the only question is whether the school will open in September '97 or September of '98." McKenzie, who was the founding headmaster of Brentwood and Collingwood schools, has had difficulty getting the school off the ground because legal hassles involving the site have postponed construction and dissuaded investors. Greenside Properties, a Vancouver-based developer, exercised a 1989 option-to-buy the campground property which former owner Ruth Buzzard had owned since 1980. Lawyers for Greenside and Buzzard faced off in B.C. Supreme Court several times in ownership disputes in the past year and a half. The court has consistently ruled in favour of Greenside. Buzzard has appealed the rulings — tying up the land transfer and shelving plans to get the real estate wheels rolling on the property. Greenside took possession of the campground in May and has completed most of the training wall needed to flood-proof the land and the preload for a new bridge and access road. McKenzie said he is excited to be on the home stretch toward realizing his vision. But not so fast. David Ehrhardt of Greenside said that his company is contemplating building more employee housing instead of a school on the 15.2 hectare lot and has been making inquires at the municipal planning department about changing the zoning. Employee housing was determined to be a building priority at last year's Town Meeting, said Whistler Valley Housing Society director Kristi Wells. "We're pushing for the biggest component of employee housing possible," said Wells of the campground site. The most favourable proposal in the eyes of the society, she said, does not include a school. The land would need to be rezoned for employee housing, said Wells, but that change would likely not be difficult because of the favourable climate for housing. There are now several proposed plans for the site. All include some employee housing, not all include a school. The first building phase, which Greenside is undertaking, has plans for 11 affordable employee lots and 41 market lots, which Ehrhardt hopes to begin marketing in the fall. McKenzie said the high school would be a high-calibre university prep school; skiing and sports would be major components of the curriculum. The majority of the 350 students would be Canadian, and approximately 50 students would be day students from the area. Although he would prefer to build at Whistler, McKenzie remarked that if employee housing replaces his school, he has an alternative location outside Whistler.

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