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Editorial

Issues of the day demand accountability

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Stop me if you heard this one before.

It has to do with the asphalt plant, Rainbow Park and pay parking.

For months we have been reporting the facts around the status of the asphalt plant near the new Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood.

We've learned that even the municipal lawyers agree that it does not have zoning to be there and yet there it is.

We've also reported on the case of the Saxton family, which is suing Whistler for allegedly paying it too little when 108 acres of land was expropriated for Rainbow Park.

B.C. Supreme Court ruled last year that the Resort Municipality of Whistler owes the family of Conservative North Vancouver MP Andrew Saxton Jr. nearly $1 million - and potentially millions more in interest - for the expropriation of land 23 years ago to build the popular Rainbow Park on Alta Lake.

According to the Vancouver Sun , the Saxton-owned Rainbow Country estates relied on market valuations from two appraisers, who found the market value in August 1987 to have been between $1.7 million and $2 million.

Whistler, using a valuation from its own appraiser, said the market value was $315,000.

In 2010 Justice Elaine Adair pegged the market value at $1.3 million, after reviewing the Whistler real estate market in 1987 and the evidence from the appraisers.

Last April the RMOW appealed the judgment but when it came time for the hearing in January it turned out some paperwork had not been filed and so the appeal was dismissed. This week a panel of Appeal Court judges are deciding if the appeal should be allowed to go ahead.

According to the January 26 council package, lawyers' fees for the case are $150,000.

Then there is pay parking: it too has been much in the news as many residents and some merchants voice concerns over whether this is really the right strategy for Whistler as it works to cater to an increasingly important drive-to market as destination visitors continue to return in fewer numbers compared to previous years.

Now we have a Chamber members-only survey on the latest reincarnation of user pay parking which could see it introduced across all the day lots 1 through 5.

Oh, wait... were you waiting for a punch line? I wish I had one.

Perhaps it is partly revealed in the story reported here last week about a developer's proposal to put a project on land opposite the entrance to the Callaghan and Whistler Olympic Park, which could get rid of all the municipal waste and fuel a greenhouse and aquaponics facility with the energy produced.

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