6.11Work on Hyatt Hotel to begin this summer Pile driving work for the 400-room Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Whistler Racquet and Golf Resort lands should begin this summer. Park Georgia Properties’ development permit was approved by council Monday, subject to a number of conditions, including a review of the project’s impact on traffic at the intersection of Northlands Boulevard and Lorimer Road. Final design details of the hotel and landscaping are also still subject to approval, but municipal staff, council and the advisory design panel feel the quality of design, materials and workmanship proposed are what they are looking for. Park Georgia had hoped to begin work on the hotel last summer. The hotel will be nine storeys, plus a sloped roof, and include an 18,000 square foot spa, 25,000 square feet of convention space and employee housing. The employee housing is currently proposed as 12 two-bedroom units in a separate building on the Montebello Phase 2 townhome site and 11 three-bedroom and four two-bedroom units within the hotel, providing accommodation for 137 employees. The Whistler Housing Authority and council have asked that the three-bedroom units be reduced to two- and one-bedroom units with no net loss of employee beds. The hotel was included in Park Georgia’s original proposal for the Whistler Racquet and Golf Resort which was accepted by the municipality in 1990. Most of the tennis courts, the tennis clubhouse and the first phase of the Montebello townhouse development has been built. Work on the second phase of townhouses is expected to start soon. Other aspects of the project have changed over the years. Five tennis courts were deleted from the project in exchange for a cash payment to the municipality and negotiations are continuing with the Chateau Whistler to find a replacement location for the driving range that was approved in 1990. In response to public outcry to save the spruce forest between Blackcomb Way and Fitzsimmons Creek, where the driving range was originally to be built, Park Georgia has been working with Chateau Whistler Golf Course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. to come up with an alternate driving range site. Park Georgia consultant Francis Wong said Monday they hope to reach agreement on a new driving range site in the next couple of months. The hotel development is expected to generate more than $2 million in works and services charges for the municipality. The Park Georgia site is one of the last significant development sites left in the village area. The only other commercial developments are the Westin hotel, which is under construction at the base of Whistler Mountain, and the second phase of Larco’s Whistler Village Centre Holiday Inn.