Starting a business using a brand new invention isnt an easy job.
Just ask Caterina Alberti, whose business Advanced Movement Inc., introduces guests and residents to the Segway the two-wheeled battery-powered human transporter. Albertis Segway business began this summer as a pilot project, which allowed her to take guests on tours using certain sections of the Valley Trail.
"It was not an easy start up," admitted Alberti in a brief presentation to Whistler council on Monday night.
Though the business didnt realize profits this summer, Alberti is hoping to take the Segway touring business beyond the pilot project stage to become a permanent business in the resort.
"There are definitely some expansions we would like to see," she said.
This summers pilot project confined the Segway tours to the section of the Valley Trail that winds around the Whistler Golf Course. Alberti wants to take the tours onto routes around Lost Lake Park and by Rebagliati Park. She said she would like to work with the municipality to find creative solutions to share the trails.
After the two and a half month pilot project, which stretched from Aug. 1 to Oct. 15, Alberti believes the Segways have great potential in Whistler. Throughout the pilot project, Advanced Movement had six Segways available for tours. Each tour was always accompanied by a guide. There were two tours every day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Alberti has yet to get feedback from the municipality on the success of the pilot project.
When she first brought her Segway idea to council earlier this year there were concerns about over-crowding the already busy Valley Trail system, among other worries. Council approved the pilot project in part to gauge the communitys support for the business and to see whether or not Segways would be compatible with other Valley Trail users.
Keith Bennett, the municipalitys general manager of parks and recreation, said staff would be preparing a recommendation for council on the future of the Segway business in the New Year.
Shoestring/Boot redevelopment plans on the way
Vancouver-based Cressey Development Corporation is keen to move forward on a residential development plan for the six-acre Boot Pub site.
In a letter attached to councils package this Monday, President Scott Cressey wrote: " I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment and dedication in making this project a reality. Our application has now been with you for almost one year and unfortunately it feels like we have made little progress forward."
The plans, which include 36 market townhomes, a commercial building and a sizable chunk of employee housing, were first presented to council in August. At that time they were sent back to staff for refinement on several issues.
Cressey Development Manager David Evans could not go into details about the refined project but said the company has listened to Whistlers concerns and changed the project accordingly.
"Were responding to some of the concerns that have come from (the) planning (department) and the Whistler Housing Authority as to the type of (employee housing) product that is most desirable for the community," he said this week.
Cressey has an outstanding obligation to build 126 employee beds as a result of their Westin Resort & Spa development in the village.
"Theyre looking to make good on that on this project," said Bob MacPherson, the municipalitys general manager of planning and development at Mondays council meeting.
Evans said Cressey would be working with Whistlers new housing expediter, Steve Bayly, for guidance on the employee housing component of the project.
The plans for the Boot site, which is located at the corner of Highway 99 and Nancy Greene Drive in White Gold, will be back before council within the next two meetings, said MacPherson.