Temporary commercial user permits (TCUP) are officially coming to town for the 2010 Olympic Games.
Without any public discussion, council unanimously voted Tuesday night to adopt the controversial bylaw that will open up the list of allowed uses in Whistler from now until June 2010.
The TCUP bylaw makes it easier for VANOC to find accommodation for Olympics workers and volunteers.
It also allows temporary store and food-outlet structures at five spots in Whistler: Celebration Plaza, Franz's Trail/alpine venue, the athletes' village, the sliding centre venue and the conference centre, which will become the main media hub.
Meanwhile, council also voted to convene another meeting with the Lot 1/9 task force, under chair Drew Meredith, to reexamine Celebration Plaza construction plans.
Councillor Eckhard Zeidler called for the meeting last week given "VANOC's plan to remove medals presentations at Celebration Plaza during the 2010 Games."
"There has been a major programming change at that venue," said Zeidler.
"We have $4.2 million at stake, and that is only our contribution from our revenue. I think it is worth a few minutes of staff time to look at it."
Councillor Chris Quinlan, Councillor Ralph Forsyth and Mayor Ken Melamed voted against another task force meeting.
"I don't see that there is going to be less programming (at Celebration Plaza)," said Quinlan.
"I see that there will be better and more Whistler programming."
Whistler U proponents apply to develop Alpha Creek Lands
Whistler U may have received a clear "no" from the municipality time and again, but proponents behind the post-secondary institution are not walking away, yet.
Doug Player and former University of Victoria president David Strong are in the process of getting a development permit to build two single family homes on the heavily treed Alpha Creek Lands, which are partly wetland.
"We are going to develop the property," said Player.
"Right now the zoning allows for the houses so the owners decided to put some houses on it... The owner felt he had to get something on it before it was down zoned even more."
Player said proponents still plan to build a university on the piece of land that includes what many people consider one of the most sensitive ecosystems within Whistler. The development permits are just another way into that door.
"If it can be developed with the houses, then there is still no reason that where we want to put the university cannot also be developed," said Player.
A few moments later, Player added: "It is pretty clear the property is going to be developed now, so why would you want a couple of houses rather than something that really benefits the community?"
Mayor Ken Melamed, who has loudly voiced his opposition to the university and other development proposals for the property for several years, said he still believes the Alpha Creek Lands should remain an ecological reserve.
He brought council's attention to several concerns he has with the current development application, including proposed tennis courts and unnecessarily wide roads.
The Alpha Creek Lands are across the highway from Spring Creek.
More market houses slated for Cheakamus Crossing
Developers of Cheakamus Crossing, the neighbourhood that will house Olympic athletes during the 2010 Games, got the go ahead from council on Tuesday to subdivide property for nine single-family market lots.
The president of Whistler Development Corporation (WDC), Joe Redmond, hopes revenue from the market lots will offset some of the costs of the employee-restricted units in the neighbourhood.
Redmond said the WDC has budgeted a total of 17 market lots based on their current cost of completion. But the price of the properties is still being worked out.
"A year ago we would have probably put one price on it, but looking at today's economy, we are saying maybe we will need some more lots to do it," said Redmond.
"The intent is to have no financial liability passed on to Whistler and to the taxpayers of Whistler."
The extra houses have always been part of the neighbourhood's business plan.
Meadow Park subsidies for elite athletes
Top Canadian, B.C. and Whistler athletes will all be granted free access into Meadow Park Sports Centre for the next two years, until the high performance centre opens following the 2010 Olympics.
On Tuesday, council agreed to spend $50,000 on four programs, named CAN PASS, WE PASS, CAN RENT, and WE INSPIRE, that will make it cheaper for elite athletes to use the Meadow Park facilities.
"What a fantastic program," said Councillor Chris Quinlan.
"I can't think of any better way to inspire the youth of our town who are not at that level."
CAN PASS is an extension of an already existing program that allows "carded" athletes at the Podium and Canadian elite levels free access to Meadow Park. Now, it will also include "non-carded" B.C. athletes at the Elite and Developmental Level.
Likewise, the WE PASS will allow "non-carded" Whistler athletes free gym entrance from January 2009 until December 2010. Athletes must be nominated by a Whistler-based sports organization.
CAN RENT will allow carded athletes to rent various RMOW facilities, like school gyms and rooms, at a 25 per cent reduced rate between January 2009 and July 2010.
And WE INSPIRE will recognize coaches through a variety of programming.
Only Councillor Eckhard Zeidler voted against the programs. He cited the challenging 2009 budget and its $3 million shortfall. (See related story.)
All day power outages
It may be time to whip out your candles and flashlights.
B.C. Hydro has announced residents in Emerald Estates will not have power from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 10 while the Crown corporation does electrical work.
The heliport will also be affected.