Worried about setting a “dangerous precedent” in its bed unit
policy, council raised concerns about the proposed redevelopment of a small
The owners of the Karen Crescent building, which is made up of
12 units bordering the highway behind the Husky gas station, have applied for a
rezoning that would increase its size.
More importantly, however, the new size and configuration of
the building increases the number of bed units associated with the development.
“I don’t think we should be creating more bed units to do
this,” said Councillor Tim Wake, who asked staff to find another solution.
Council, on the whole, expressed reservations about increasing
the number of bed units, but endorsed the continuing review of the rezoning
The overall sentiment from council, said Mayor Ken Melamed, is
that it wants the owners to be able to improve their building.
At the heart of this issue, however, is a municipal policy
dealing with bed units — the tool the municipality uses to measure
development and its cap on growth.
The Official Community Plan (OCP) only allows council to
increase the bed unit cap if certain conditions are met, specifically if the
development “provides clear and substantial benefits to the community and the
For example, the bed unit cap was increased by more than 200
units for the Rainbow subdivision, which is supposed to deliver the biggest
employee housing project in Whistler.
The Creekside owners believe the redevelopment of their
building is in itself a community benefit.
And while the increase is minimal at nine extra bed units,
council raised concerns about the precedent it would set in making this decision.
“… The proposal looks much better than what’s there now,”
agreed Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
But she raised the concerns about the wording in the OCP.
“…how do we draw the line the next time?”
Several councillors echoed this sentiment.
“Throw us a bone here,” said Councillor Bob Lorriman through
staff to the proponents.
“We need something and just improving a building is not it.”
The owners would like to change the building from a 12-unit 514
square metres development (5,500 square feet) to an 11-unit building at 660
square metres (7,100 square feet).
That would make each unit bigger, changing from 43 square
metres (462 square feet) to 60 square metres (645 square feet). And that
affects the bed unit calculation.
Any unit under 55 square metres has two bed units associated
with it and those between 55 and 100 square metres have three bed units.
That means the current development uses 24 bed units while the
proposed rezoning would bring the complex to 33 bed units.
Councillor Eckhard Zeidler spoke of his great displeasure in
supporting the application and standing before the community as a hypocrite.
Earlier this year Zeidler spoke out on the necessity of council to reaffirm its
commitment to limit development and stick to the bed cap.
The issue, said Wake, is a good example of where the bed unit approach falls apart.