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lake placid waits

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By Loreth Beswetherick Close to $1 million has been set aside since 1996 and the plans have been prepared, but the long-awaited upgrade of Lake Placid Road will only go to tender once Intrawest’s masterplan for the Creekside base area east of the highway is approved. The municipality’s manager of transportation and drainage, Steve Black, said the upgrade will definitely not proceed this year but it will likely go ahead in the spring of 2000. "We have the plans and the specifications ready to go to tender," said Black. "But we did not feel it was prudent going ahead with our side of the Lake Placid Road project without knowing what the final intersection alignment was going to look like." Intrawest has plans to feed five lanes out of the Creekside base area into Highway 99 and there is little leeway for the roadwork, due to limited space. Black said the municipality has a bigger right-of-way to play with on the west side of the highway. "We have to make sure the project fits together and that the geometry of the intersection realignment is going to work." Intrawest will fund the roadwork to the east of the highway as well as the reconstruction of the Creekside intersection. The municipality will be responsible for the Lake Placid Road upgrade to the west. The Lake Placid roadwork will also have to tie in with capital upgrade plans for the Husky service station, which are designed to increase layout efficiency and give the complex a new look in keeping with overall plans for the area. Black said the scope of the municipality’s project includes curbs, gutters, sidewalks, street lighting, storm drains and water and sewer upgrades, all budgeted at around $900,000. Doug Ogilvy, vice president for the Intrawest Resort Development Group, said before Intrawest can start its portion the road work, the Creekside masterplan approvals need to be in place. "We should be at council in a couple of weeks for first and second reading on the rezonings," said Ogilvy. "So we hope to moving to public hearings and then adoption this fall. Once the masterplan and zoning is effectively approved, then next year we can move forward." Slated for next summer are phase two of the creek works and the reconstruction of Lake Placid road east of the highway. "We will also be applying for a development permit for the new Dusty’s and the Legends building. There is a huge program for next summer in Whistler Creek," said Ogilvy. "That little pile of rocks you see in Creekside now... that’s just a warm up." He said Intrawest has been working closely with the Ministry of Highways for the past 12 months. "The ministry has effectively given us approval in principle of the current plans," said Ogilvy. "We have been working with them, fine-tuning where the lanes will go, where the parkade entrance will be, where the lights will be and how all these different things will work together." Any subdivision of Intrawest’s Whistler Creek lands must be okayed by the Ministry of Highways, which has approving authority over all subdivisions within 600 metres of a provincial highway. Ogilvy said Lake Placid Road to the east of the highway will "be a bit of a boulevard with some planting on it and islands for pedestrians. When you look at the magnitude of what we are doing on the east side, it made no sense for the municipality to go ahead but to wait and do the work concurrently with us and with what Husky is doing," said Ogilvy. He added Intrawest has been working closely with the Creekside Merchants’ Association on plans for the area. The merchants association has been calling for improvements to Lake Placid Road for the last five years. The group said the road is hazardous, particularly at night, in its current state and it gets heavy vehicle and pedestrian use in winter. The municipality had budgeted close to $1 million to improve the strip of road from Highway 99 down to the B.C. Rail station, with work set to start in the spring of 1996. The project was, however, sidelined at the 11th hour when projected costs exceeded the budget by about 80 per cent and applications to senior levels of government for infrastructure grants were turned down. Disappointed, the merchants association was the first in line to present a delegation to the newly-elected council in December 1996. They wanted to get in early and remind the new council they were still waiting for the promised upgrade. But, with the 1999 elections now approaching and council’s term nearing a close, it looks like they will have to wait yet another year to see their upgrade. There is however, still $900,000 in the 1999 municipal budget set aside for the road work.

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