Intrawests latest condo-hotel development almost ran into roadblocks at council on Monday night over green building construction.
Council hesitated giving approval for the Club Intrawest development in Creekside without proof the company had used its own green building standards in the design of the building. The concerns were spearheaded by Councillor Ken Melamed but then echoed by other members of council.
"Its not acceptable to me," said Melamed, who added the green building guidelines, called Eco Vision, were promised by Intrawest.
Councillor Nick Davies said the apparent absence of the green building criteria rankled council even more because Intrawest had successfully appealed to the B.C. Assessment Authority to get the condo hotel reclassified to a lower tax bracket. As such, Club Intrawest Creekside has now been designated a Class 1 building and condo owners will be assessed at the residential tax rate, which is significantly less than the Class 6 commercial rate applied on most hotel units.
The reclassification also means the municipality will lose out on tax revenue.
"I wish it were different," said the municipalitys General Manager of Planning and Development Services, Bob MacPherson. But decisions on Class 1 or Class 6 designations are done by B.C. Assessment.
MacPherson also said he could not confirm if Intrawest had in fact used their green building guidelines for the development. Staff recommended to council that they approve the development permit subject to getting that information, in part because Intrawest is keen to build this spring.
Melamed then asked for a third party review of their green guidelines. "This is a learning time for us," he said.
The discussion highlighted the need for a broader municipal policy on green building guidelines, according to Councillor Marianne Wade. She said the municipality must adopt a policy and stop deciding on things one project at a time.
"We do not have our own house in order," she said.
The Intrawest development at Creekside will be one of the last buildings in the South Whistler Comprehensive Development Strategy, which included Franzs Trail, Kadenwood, and the Spring Creek subdivision. As part of that deal, Intrawest chose to develop the Hillside Lodge, known as Club Intrawest Creekside on London Lane.
It was to have been a 70-room hotel with 40 one-bedroom units and 30 two-bedroom units as well as 8,400 square feet of commercial space. At Mondays meeting, Intrawest asked council for revisions to this development. The building will now have 87 one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units.
The commercial space has been reduced from 8,400 square feet to 585 square feet. Intrawest representatives did not return phone calls as of deadline.