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Council Briefs

Pay parking raises ire of driver



By Alison Taylor

An indignant resident questioned council’s plans to resurface the day lots and implement pay parking.

“You’re planning to pave this parking lot…. You’re disrupting my life,” John Sinclair told council Monday night.

“Why does my life have to change?”

His comments stem from the $4.3 million line item in the Five Year Financial plan that details extensive work to the day skier parking lots.

The project is not yet approved and negotiations are ongoing with the province, the owner of the day lots. Those talks have been happening for at least a decade.

“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet,” explained Mayor Ken Melamed, during the public question and answer period.

“There are so many potential scenarios out there.”

The lots will be used during the 2010 Olympic Games.

Any decisions on the project will be made in consultation with the community, he added, and any scenario will include some free parking in the day lots.

At the same time, the mayor explained that implementing pay parking is part of a strategy to reduce single occupancy vehicles making trips to the village and Whistler’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re not asking anyone to suffer,” he said.


TWSSF won’t get help for policing

Council will not foot the $25,000 RCMP bill for additional officers during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

“I don’t want to be the grinch who stole the festival from the town,” explained Councillor Ralph Forsyth.

But, he said, they already make a significant contribution to the festival and suggested that Tourism Whistler and Whistler-Blackcomb could help out with the extra costs.

Festival organizer Sue Eckersley was disappointed at the news and maintained that there is a good business case for the municipality to support the festival.

The festival generated almost $38 million in economic activity across B.C. last year, with more than $21 million of that in Whistler.

The festival drives incremental room nights at the tail end of the season and with it increased hotel tax revenues, which get funneled back into the resort municipality.

She also added that the municipality’s financial involvement to date consists of waiving fees to use the village and to put up banners.

The cost to bring in extra police officers during events has risen dramatically over the years. Last year it cost almost $16,000. That’s because RCMP officers are now no longer allowed to take on overtime shifts in a voluntary capacity and must be paid for their work.

Eckersley said she would appeal to council again next year.


Community groups get grants

Council approved more than $216,000 in community enrichment grants to more than 20 community groups this year.

Just as it did last year, the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA) received the biggest grant at $35,000.

The money will be used for trail maintenance, with a focus on restoring Shit Happens, which was impacted by the Rainbow development, and sections of Train Wreck that were lost to the highway construction. The money will also pay for trail workers who will learn from local trail builder Chris Markle to ensure his skills are passed on to other WORCA members.

The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment received two separate grants. One totaling more than $9,300 for their environmental education program and another grant totaling $18,500 for a speaker series.

The third biggest recipient was the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program for a total of $20,000.

Under the Community Charter the municipality can give one per cent of its property tax revenue in grants.

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