News » Whistler


Greenside Properties should be providing more affordable housing on the Kampground lands, several speakers at a public hearing on the project said Monday. "This is a great site (for affordable housing)," Steve Bayly told council, "but I don’t feel the proposal lives up to its potential." Noting affordable housing sites need to be easy to build on and should have little impact on neighbours, Bayly, one of the developers of the Barnfield Farm affordable housing project, said: "I think the site should be developed as employee housing, but if it’s a new proposal it should be all employee housing." Greenside submitted its original proposal for the Kampground lands nearly seven years ago in response to the municipality’s call for employee housing. Since then the project has been held up by the municipality’s OCP review and by a law suit with Ruth Buzzard, the property’s previous owner. A proposal for 66 market value single family lots, 17 affordable single family lots and a private high school was at third reading three years ago, before the law suit was launched. Last month Greenside submitted its present plan, which calls for 69 market value lots, more than 2 acres for affordable housing, and dedication of park land to the municipality. The proposal has received first two readings but council — as its custom whenever opposition is expressed at a public hearing — delayed third reading. When the new proposal came forward last month it looked as though the municipality would buy the affordable housing parcel and then find a developer to build the housing. On Monday Planning Director Mike Vance told the more than 100 people at the hearing that the municipality was now negotiating with Greenside to see if they would build the housing and then sell the units. Greenside representatives pointed out that two-thirds of the 69 market value houses will be required to have employee suites with rental restrictions, which will add to the affordable housing component of the project. That didn’t satisfy everyone. Mathew Cote, who is involved in the Millar’s Ridge affordable housing project and is proposing another affordable housing project in Alpine Meadows, said he was a little surprised at the "under utilization of the land." He also noted that council has said all new rezoning applications will only be considered if they are for 100 per cent affordable housing. Greenside responded that the current proposal is a revision to a previous proposal and was done at the municipality’s request. "Greenside is a victim of a process," said representative Kye Kroykan. "The developer has already committed himself. It is unacceptable to reconsider everything now. There are a number of amenities. The employee bed ratio was much higher originally, but it was the municipality that requested revisions." Municipal staff noted that the current Greenside proposal, which requires 486 bed units, would bring the bed unit inventory to 52,701 — 201 above the 52,500 bed unit ceiling. However, most of the bed units for the Greenside project are within the 7,500 bed units allowed under the 1989 OCP. "I don’t think the community would have approved this three years ago if they’d known it would exceed the 52,500," Ken Melamed told council. Melamed, president of the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, said he was opposed to any development on the Kampground lands because the whole area is a wetland. Melamed later apologized to the developer saying, "I understand he has good intentions and I know he’s faced circumstances beyond his control, but this is an opportunity to do this right. The community hasn’t delayed this project."

Add a comment