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Crystal Lodge renovations cast shadow of doubt at council table



Project is delayed for shadow analysis

Council has stalled extensive renovations to the Crystal Lodge over fears the revamped building will cast more shadow on the village streets and patios.

"(I have a) fear that we’re going to have a serious new shadow problem," said Councillor Nick Davies at Monday’s council meeting when council was presented with the plans for renovations.

The proposal to renovate the north wing of the hotel, stretching from Sportstop to Forks, includes 22 new units and more than 1,300 square metres of additional gross floor area (GFA).

The renovations also include plans to raise the building from three stories to five stories in the area above Citta’s Bistro. This will accommodate a penthouse unit with a decorative cupola or small tower on top.

This section in particular raised a red flag for Davies about the shadow effects on neighbouring areas, despite assurances from staff.

"I think that the analysis is accurate," said municipal Senior Planner Mike Kirkegaard.

"I have no basis to think otherwise."

Though Davies was shown diagrams drawn up by the architect that showed minor impacts from shadows cast by the renovated building, he was not convinced.

He said the solar analysis drawings do not accurately reflect the shadow impact on the sunny days of the ski season, particularly on the La Bocca and Brasserie patios opposite the Crystal Lodge.

Davies told his fellow council members they have a "sacred duty" to protect Village Square and Village Stroll from any significant shadow that could be cast by the newly renovated building.

He called the area one of the key amenities in the community, an amenity that gives Whistler "sparkle factor" when the eyes of the world are on the resort.

Davies called on the developer to prove him wrong with a detailed shadow analysis. He persuaded four members of council to hold off on a decision until the new shadow drawings were produced.

But other councillors raised additional concerns about the renovation.

Councillor Caroline Lamont voted against the renovation in part because council has not come up with a policy of dealing with increasing GFA in the Core Commercial One (CC1) zone.

She has been asking for a policy to be developed by staff since August.

Technically any property within the CC1 zone is allowed to develop 3.5 square metres of GFA per square metre of the property parcel area.

In the case of the Crystal Lodge, which has a parcel area of 2,066 square metres, up to 7,232 square metres can be developed. The proposed renovation would see just slightly less than the allowable 3.5 square metre ratio developed.

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