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creekside delay

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Creekside stream work to be delayed until 1999 Whistler Ski Club cabin to be ready for season By Andy Stonehouse Intrawest officials have opted to postpone this summer's plans for channel realignment in Whistler Creek, opting instead for one long and intense year of Creekside infrastructure work in 1999. Neil Rodgers, director of Intrawest's development group, said Whistler/Blackcomb planners have decided to defer the creek project to next season, when it can be paired with realignment, paving and underground work to provide upgraded sewer, power and telephone services along Lake Placid Drive. "We've decided to tackle the whole infrastructure program in one shot, partially for cost efficiency, but also to minimize disruption to business and homes in the area," he said. "There will be one intense construction period from May to September, with September being the worst." Rodgers said the change in plans will not delay development of the first phase of condominiums at Whistler Station, the first work envisioned as part of Intrawest's overhaul of the Creekside base. Work to relocate the Whistler Ski Club cabin will also continue as planned, with moving crews heading into action later this month. Rodgers said the new schedule partially reflects a desire to work in conjunction with Whistler municipal planning staff, who are still short-numbered and overwhelmed with other community projects. "The Creekside work is in their job jar, but they face an intense schedule, and we're not fully convinced that we'd get approvals in time." Construction crews will also face a federal Department of Fisheries-imposed window in which they will be allowed to do their work to partially change the alignment of Whistler Creek. Work in the stream can only be completed from mid-July to late August or early September, to prevent damage to fish habitat. Within the creek itself, Rodgers said work must be done to prepare the area for projected flooding levels, although he said erosion at the nearby Snowridge subdivision helps illustrate the necessity of the work. "Water has already eroded the bottom of the channel at Snowridge. Our plans are to armour the sides of Whistler Creek with rip-wrap, to prepare in case of the once in 200 year debris event." Other creek work will be done above the skiers' bridge, plus the construction of two debris basins and remedial work down to the highway bridge. The existing bridge from Whistler Mountain offices into the Creekside parking lot will also be replaced. In the meantime, Rodgers said work is almost underway to move the ski club cabin to a more northerly location, where the Boyd house used to be located. Demolition of the gondola barn, the race department office and the maintenance shed has also take place, with no other Creekside buildings slated to be knocked down for at least two years. On Tuesday Whistler council approved the company's plans for the club cabin, which will see the existing bottom floor removed before the relocation job. Nickel Brothers movers will be jacking up the club cabin and transporting it across the valley bottom during the last week of August or early September, with a new bottom floor development to be built around the cabin once it is installed at the new site. "Restoration and remodelling should take a good six weeks once the building is moved, and our commitment is to have the cabin fully operational by Nov. 1." Whistler/Blackcomb is also planning to begin construction in September of a 2,200 square foot "discovery centre" in front of the Lake Placid Lodge. The new sales building will be a permanent structure and will represent the first phase of Whistler Station retail shops along Lake Placid Road. Rodgers said the new building is expected to be completed just before Christmas. Costs for stream work alone are estimated at about $3 million, while road work will cost an additional $4 million-$5 million. Rodgers said planning will be crucial as the money represents a huge capital cost which will only set the stage for the company's first new project in Creekside.

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