Master planning for Lakeside Park gets underway this summer
By Alison Taylor
Council will wait until the master planning is complete for Lakeside Park in Alta Vista before rezoning the parkland.
The decision, contrary to staff's recommendation, was made at Monday's council meeting in response to serious concerns raised by the neighbouring residents in Alta Vista. Among other things, they are concerned about the amount of traffic moving into their residential neighbourhood generated by the commercial operations at the park. They are also concerned about increased commercial activities there.
Staff proposed to rezone the land LP1 (Leisure Park 1), which is consistent with other major parks in Whistler. They also wanted to consolidate two lots to make the park bigger.
Councillor Ken Melamed said he was prepared to move ahead with the rezoning but deferred to the rest of council.
ÒLet's not forget, we need to have commercial use in at least one of our parks,Ó he said at Monday's council meeting.
ÒThe bottom line is: where else are you going to put it? ÉIt's got to be this park.Ó
Council will reconsider the matter once the master planning is complete. It will be a process where residents will be able to give comments and raise concerns. The Lakeside master planning is a priority for the parks department and is expected to get underway this summer.
Councillor concerned about heavy tax burden for local businesses
Small businesses are carrying too heavy a tax burden in the resort municipality according to Councillor Nick Davies.
And he is not happy about it.
At the latest council meeting Davies expressed his concerns to council, highlighting the disparities between what businesses pay in Whistler compared to residential taxes.
Business owners, he said, are paying more than four times more than residential owners. In major Canadian cities that disparity is closer to a three to one ratio.
ÒIn my view that simply is not acceptable.Ó
The disparity prompted Davies to call for council and the municipality to pursue its long-promised Òfinancial toolsÓ from the provincial government much more aggressively.
Mayor Hugh O'Reilly said the municipality is not solely responsibly for those high business taxes. Indeed the ratio is that high because of the burden from other agencies, such as the provincial school taxes, which the municipality does not control but simply collects. The real difference is close to 3.7 to 1 when you compare the municipal portion he said.
The municipality has commissioned a study to look at the issue to see if the disparities are unreasonable or not. That study is now underway.
Road end to turn into employee housing
Plans are moving ahead to transport a house in Whistler Cay to the nearby Balsam Way, where it will become employee housing.
Council made the decision to move the house last month, despite concerns from nearby residents in Tapley's Farm.
Council based its decision in part on geotechnical reports which came back saying the site could handle a house without negatively impacting the area and exacerbating flooding concerns there.
The new site, an undeveloped road end next to Helicopter Park, needs to be prepped for about three months before the house can be relocated there.
In the meantime, the house will get moved to a grassy piece of land at the entrance to Whistler Cay Estates were it will remain until the new site is ready.
It is hoped that will be by the end of July.