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Judge halts further construction on Nita Lake Lodge



A B.C. Supreme Court Judge reiterated this week that there is to be no more construction on the Nita Lake Lodge development.

A supplemental judgment was released on Wednesday after lawyers for the municipality asked Madam Justice Humphries for clarification on her original judgement of March 15.

Diana Waltmann, information officer with the municipality, explained the municipality was looking for clarification on different points of the judgment, particularly on the matter of a 30 day stay of an order in the ruling.

"(The clarification was) to understand better what options are available to the municipality," said Waltmann.

In her clarification Humphries said there was to be no more construction at the site because the development bylaw was illegal and had been illegal since her judgment.

In her original ruling, Humphries gave a temporary 30-day stay to any "deconstruction" on the project.

"While I did not anticipate the potential difficulty raised by Whistler’s counsel as they contemplate what advice they should give to their client respecting options now open to them, neither did I anticipate that my reasons would be interpreted to give the developer license to continue development for thirty days under a project authorized by a bylaw which I have declared to be illegal," wrote Humphries in her supplemental ruling.

"... ‘deconstruction’ of the project, is stayed for thirty days from the date of the judgment."

The supplemental judgment came as no surprise to George Macintosh, the lawyer representing Keith and Rosalyn Lambert, the homeowners who took the municipality to court.

"In the supplemental reasons the judge has simply confirmed what we had understood to be the intent of her original reasons," said Macintosh.

He went on the explain that the 30 day stay applied to "both deconstruction on the one hand and further construction on the other hand, while the parties, particularly Whistler, advise what it proposes to do by way of a further step."

As of press time on Wednesday afternoon, Waltmann said she did not know what the next steps are for the municipality. She also did not know if the municipality would issue a stop-work order to the Nita Lake Lodge development.

After the judge ruled the bylaw illegal, Keith Lambert called Mayor Hugh O’Reilly and asked for both sides to sit down and discuss future options.

O’Reilly however cannot comment on this case because of a conflict of interest.

The mayor, along with Councillor Gordon McKeever, are in conflict whenever there is a matter before council that deals with tourist accommodation.

"They don’t keep me abreast of it," O’Reilly said this week.

"I’m not even allowed to listen to the council direction because I can’t exercise any influence."

He admitted that it’s frustrating not to be a part of it.

Lambert said again this week that he does not want to see a deconstruction of the entire project. Instead he would prefer to negotiate a settlement that would see a smaller hotel on the site.

He has yet to hear from either the municipality or the developer.

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