The first major hurdle has been cleared toward the municipality acquiring the 139-acre Emerald Forest property. The Decigon group and Intrawest signed a binding agreement last week that will see ownership of the environmentally-sensitive land turned over to Intrawest for an undisclosed amount. The next step will be to see the property transferred to the municipality to be preserved in a trust, in exchange for $1 million and 476 new bed units beyond the bed unit cap. Those 476 bed units plus the 36 currently allocated to the Emerald Forest land will be transferred to Lot 5, near the Chateau Whistler, for the development of a 192-room hotel. The real estate transaction between Decigon and Intrawest, however, will only go through if Intrawest gets fourth reading for its hotel development. The project is due to come before council for fourth reading Monday night (Nov. 1). The deal is also subject to Intrawest acquiring title to the parking lot which is currently owned by the Crown. Decigon principal Larry Houghton said he could not disclose how much Intrawest is paying for the Emerald Forest. He said it is a private transaction between private companies.