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Council Briefs

Rainbow gains ground

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Council is making good on one of its major promises for this term in office.

Employee housing, specifically the Rainbow development, is becoming a reality.

A special council meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. to address the Rainbow rezoning application.

Council is expected to give first and second readings to the proposal, the first major step in a rezoning application, at that time.

The development will see more than 300 units of employee housing in a wide variety of shapes and sizes on the site between Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates. There will also be a component of market housing as well as a commercial core and a gas station on site. That’s good news for the 500 employees on the Whistler Housing Authority’s waitlist.

Doubts that the project would ever move ahead surfaced earlier this year when the developer and the municipality struggled to come up with a plan suitable to both sides.

The special meeting will be held at MY Millennium Place and members of the public can attend.

Province mum on village business plan

Mayor Ken Melamed has written a letter to Premier Gordon Campbell demanding action on the athletes village business plan.

"I sent a letter to the premier this morning (Wednesday April 19) which is our final position," said Melamed at the Chamber luncheon.

"The time for negotiation is over. It is time for the province to say yes. We can’t wait anymore."

Though he set the end of May as a deadline for provincial approval of the athletes village business plan, Melamed had been hoping for the nod of approval by mid-April.

He has yet to hear a word from the province since his meeting with the premier in Victoria at the end of March.

But he said Tuesday night that Jim Godfrey, the municipality’s Olympic point man, has been in negotiations with the premier’s top staff since then.

When asked why he thinks the province hasn’t come to the table yet with an answer, despite knowing Whistler’s strict timeframe, Melamed said:

"All we can imagine is that this is really, really, challenging for the province."

But the decision day is drawing near.

Melamed said they must have an answer by early to mid-May in order to get in the ground by the beginning of June.

"We can’t wait forever," he said. "We’re giving the province as much time as we can."

When asked if that timeline will give council enough time for proper consultation with the community, which has yet to see the details of the athletes village business plan, the mayor reiterated his commitment to full public consultation.

The details of the business plan are wrapped up in closed-door negotiations right now. What is known is that Whistler does not have enough money to build the village. It is hoped the province can help out.

Tourism Whistler’s busking bylaw rejected

Council will not relax its bylaws to allow busking in the village.

Mayor Ken Melamed announced the decision Tuesday night, two weeks after Tourism Whistler brought forth the proposal.

There were a number of different reasons for council’s rejection, said the mayor, including concerns about the quality and the viability of the acts performing in town.

Tourism Whistler had been hoping for a bylaw to allow busking in order to save funds which would otherwise go to pay street performers. Paid street entertainers have been a regular feature in the village during the summer for nearly 20 years.

Tourism Whistler had asked council to consider a trial busking period this summer and said they would take on the responsibility of managing the talent.

Council will have discussions with Tourism Whistler now on what some of the options are for performers in the village.

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