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Council pledges money for provincial sports hosting program

Whistler council has unanimously pledged $50,000 to a provincial program charged with hosting sport events in the lead up to the 2010 Olympic Games.

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Whistler’s funding pledge came on the heels of a letter from Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, whose council approved a $100,000 commitment to the program in September.

Deputy Administrator Bill Barratt explained that Whistler’s money would be divided over a two-year period, with $25,000 pledged in 2004 and the remainder pledged the following year. This focus is on events taking place over the next three years, including the 2007-08 winter season.

"In the future it is expected both Vancouver and Whistler will be involved in a number of World Cup events and test events leading up to the 2010 Games period," wrote Barratt in a report to council. "This will provide an opportunity to establish the experience needed by our communities as we prepare for the Games."

Though the B.C. HostingNow program has an emphasis on Pre-Olympic/Paralymic test events designated by the Vancouver Organizing Committee, it also has a provincial scope.

As such, the program will provide funding to non-profit organizations interested in staging international and national sport events throughout the province.

Just as Vancouver has hosted many World Cup or World Championship events in recent years, so too has Whistler. Barratt highlighted the 2001 World Freestyle Championships and the upcoming 2005 World Snowboard Championships in January as examples of Whistler hosting world-class events.

For several years council has set aside an event support budget to assist in those major events.

Library plans move to open house

The long-awaited public library is one step closer to becoming reality.

On Monday night council agreed to allow the proposed library rezoning to move forward to a public open house.

The rezoning application as presented this week will allow for a 14,000 square foot building in the heart of the village on Main Street. The $7 million development will replace the existing library trailer, which is bursting at the seams, and force the relocation of the museum and the Whistler Housing Authority.

The building will house the library collections and offices as well as the circulation desk, cataloguing area, a multi-purpose meeting room, an end of trip bicycle facility and roughly 45 underground parking stalls.

Staff is reviewing the possibility of taking away some parking stalls to make room for a cistern, which would capture the water runoff from the site. This green building feature could help the library achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating.

The rezoning application also allows for a 750 square foot building on the site. The municipality’s Manager of Current Planning, Bill Brown, said staff has looked at the idea of putting a non-profit organization in that building in the future.

Councillor Kristi Wells questioned the additional building and said it would be almost more clear and efficient just to rezone for the library. Still, Wells, along with the rest of council, voted to move the rezoning application forward to a public open house, allowing the community to comment on the project as proposed.

The public open house will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. in council chambers at municipal hall.

London Drugs has yet to submit application

Though London Drugs has publicly announced its intentions to come to Whistler Village, Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said the municipality has not received any rezoning applications for those plans.

At Monday’s council meeting O’Reilly said there has been many phone calls to councillors and a lot of interest generated in the community by the London Drugs announcement but staff has yet to see an application.

London Drugs confirmed this week that they are still working on the design before submitting an application. Once the design is complete they intend to submit a rezoning application for a large commercial space in the village.

Last month the company announced it had an agreement in principle with Larco Investments to rent space in the spot now occupied by Eddie Bauer and Guess. It would be a 16,000 square foot, two-level store with the bulk of the space on the lower level.

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