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Judge rules for asphalt plant

Plant owner moving ahead with plans to install new portable operation this spring

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RMOW lawyers argued unsuccessfully for a declaration that the asphalt production use contravenes the zoning bylaw and that the plant should be shut down.

Whistler Aggregates has long operated the asphalt plant in the south end of town. But up until six years ago its neighbours were the town's landfill and the wastewater treatment plant. Then the community decided to build the 2010 athletes' village on the site once the landfill was decommissioned, which became resident housing for roughly 1,200 Whistler residents post-Games.

Affidavits filed with the B.C. Supreme Court as part of the legal action show that the asphalt plant was a concern for the Whistler Development Corporation (WDC), which built the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood, as early as 2007.

One of the affidavits, filed in court by Silveri, details a series of meetings in which WDC board members expressed concern about locating the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood close to where an asphalt plant was operating.

Pat Kelly, President of the Whistler Real Estate Company, said the existence of the asphalt plant is considered in the valuation of the market value properties in the neighbourhood.

"All of a sudden I don't think Cheakamus Crossing has a big black X over it because of a Supreme Court decision," said Kelly.

Recent figures show that the remaining debt on the development is about $8.5 million to the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA), down from the $100 million the municipality initially borrowed to finance the $161 million athletes' village construction.

The WDC owes a further $15 million to municipal reserves, which it plans to pay off after retiring the MFA loan by bringing on new market lots and multi-family developments at Cheakamus.

Eight units remain at the 20-unit Riverbend development. There are also seven of the nine market lots for sale at Madeley Place.

The judge's written decision is available online: http://www.whistler.ca/sites/default/files/judge_kloegman_rmow__v__whistler_aggregates_01-31.pdf

-with files from Alison Taylor