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Housing units on horizon

Hundreds more market units on horizon, millions more investment



Several new developments are quickly making their way through municipal hall.

On Tuesday night council considered three residential projects – the Shoestring Lodge, the Holborn redevelopment and Cheakamus North.

While there are still some concerns about aspects of each project, council appears to be interested in pushing all three proposals ahead.

Together they represent more than 225 new units of market housing in the valley and millions of dollars in construction. In return, the municipality will get some employee housing, a state of the art tennis facility, a seniors housing complex and a road linking Spring Creek to Millar’s Pond.

The Holborn project

The biggest project on the books by far is the redevelopment of the tennis club lands by the Holborn Group.

The land is located off Lorimer Road opposite Marketplace.

After the last council sent the project back for further revision in September 2005, the developer has been in consultation with the local tennis community.

The Holborn Group is now proposing a tennis facility with five indoor courts and seven outdoor courts. There will be a fitness facility, outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant as part of the development.

Tennis Canada’s president and CEO likes what is proposed.

"Assuming it is built to specifications, we would welcome the opportunity of requesting that Whistler and the Whistler Tennis Centre host professional men’s or women’s tennis tournaments, including Davis and Fed Cup home ties," wrote Michael Downey in a letter of endorsement. "The present facility, as designed, would be superior to most of the venues presently considered suitable for these prestigious events."

The rest of the land will be a townhouse and apartment development, comprising 181 market units.

"It’s good to see this back," said Councillor Gord McKeever. "Let’s get this going."

It’s been 11 months since the proposal has formally been before council in a public meeting.

Councillor Tim Wake asked about the delay, specifically if any "dillydallying" on the part of the municipality had caused it. While he said he wasn’t trying to place any blame, he was acknowledging that time is money.

"It’s an issue with many proposals here," he said.

The developer’s architect, Peter Lang, explained that the old plans were essentially thrown out after the last council considered the proposal and they started again from scratch.

Tuesday he stressed the importance of moving the project, which has been two years in the making, forward in the rezoning process.

"We’ve been delayed for two years in the process already and every year that the Holborn Group miss a building season it costs them a lot more in the project," said Lang. "So the question is: if we get delayed again for another year and we miss another building season, will this actually still be an affordable project for them to do?"