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First Nations taking Whistler to court over community plan

Case has the hallmark of long and complicated litigation says mayor

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Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations have filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court against the province and the Resort Municipality of Whistler over its newly adopted Official Community Plan.

"Personally I am very disappointed," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden during her mayor's report at Tuesday's council meeting (May 21).

She was unable to speak in detail about the petition other than to say that Whistler would be filing a response to the petition in court.

A budget amendment will also be coming forward in the next few weeks to cover the legal costs.

"This has the hallmark of a lengthy and complicated piece of legislation," said the mayor, adding that it will require tax dollars to defend it.

The two Nations had documented their concerns over Whistler's OCP and provided them to the province. Primarily they are concerned how the OCP will impact future development on Crown land within the resort boundaries. The new OCP reaffirms Whistler's commitment to limit growth.

The petition also names Bill Bennett, minister of community, sport and cultural development, who signed the OCP approval on the eve of the writ being dropped for the provincial election (Bennett won re-election last week).

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