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By Bob Barnett In April Intrawest announced it was donating a site for a second Whistler elementary school. In July the province announced it was providing capital funding for planning that school. But even though another Whistler elementary is needed now, it will be a few years before its built. To start with, the province has yet to release the $132,000 it promised and has given no indication when the money for planning will be available. "Normally they do come through with planning money," Trustee Ele Clarke said this week, although there have been instances — including a case in the Howe Sound school district — where the Ministry of Education provided planning money and then didn’t come through with building funds. But it is no longer even the Ministry of Education that releases funds for capital projects. The ministry’s facilities people make recommendations to Treasury and it is Treasury which actually decides whether it’s going to release funds. In April Intrawest announced its plans for Whistler Creek and the development of the remaining 2,300 bed units it acquired with Whistler Mountain. Among those plans was Spring Creek, a brand new subdivision south of Millar’s Pond featuring a mixture of market and employee housing, including single family, townhouse and apartment units. The project also includes space for a small commercial building, similar to Alpine Market, a day care facility and a 5.5 acres site for a second elementary school. In May and June the school board reviewed the Spring Creek plans with the municipality and a couple of issues were found to need further work. To start with, the footprint for the school doesn’t meet the Ministry of Education’s requirements. The proposed road system doesn’t fit the municipality’s requirements, either. But these are details that can and will be worked out with Intrawest. "People are pretty excited about (the donated site)," Clarke said. "There aren’t many of these that happen across the province." The school itself is estimated to cost $3.9 million. The $132,000 promised by the Ministry of Education would cover part of the cost of planning the new school. The board hopes Intrawest can contribute its own planning expertise to help make the school a reality. Clarke said the school board is building a strong relationship with Ministry of Education facilities personnel and there is a growing understanding of the district’s needs. Meanwhile, Doug Ogilvie, vice president of Intrawest’s resort development group, said the company hopes to get approvals for all of its Creekside development plans over the winter. "Spring Creek is proceeding in a parallel approval process with Whistler Station," Ogilvie said. He added he hoped Intrawest could be servicing the school site next summer, but said it was more likely land clearing would be done next year and site servicing done in the summer of 2000. "There are multiple levels of government approval required," Ogilvie said. In addition to the Ministry of Education the Ministry of Transportation and Highways, Ministry of Environment and various municipal departments must approve the plans.

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