Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of August 13th


Lakeside parking needs solution

We are writing about a traffic and safety concern in the Lakeside Park area.

The refurbishment of Lakeside Park was a huge success and visitor traffic has increased exponentially. Unfortunately the unintended consequence is a significant increase in car traffic and parking on Lakeside Road with drivers trying to get close to the park.

Lakeside between Carlton and Alpine is one of the few unprotected stretches of the Valley Trail in Whistler, and there is no barrier between all these cars (and trucks unloading boats) and the users of the Valley Trail — cyclists and pedestrians, many young children riding to the lake.

Despite one speed bump on the block most are driving above the speed limit. The problem is exacerbated by parked cars (park users and boaters primarily) taking up half the street.

Daily we see several near-misses of cars colliding with cyclists, pedestrians and dogs; drivers swerving onto the Valley Trail as they go around parked cars; drivers backing up on the Valley Trail; drivers speeding down the street rushing who knows where.

Some cars even park right on the Valley Trail, putting cyclists and pedestrians at more risk. The most worrying scenario is when cyclists or skateboarders pick up speed descending Carleton and then make a left turn onto Lakeside.

The Lakeside stretch of the Valley Trail is unique because visitors stroll down the road and interact frequently with local families. We often chat with tourists from our deck and driveway, giving directions and telling them about life in Whistler.

The unnecessary increase in car traffic is ruining this gem of a section of the Valley Trail.

From a personal perspective, our family is impacted because drivers are constantly doing U-turns in our driveway where our dog is tied up, and idling in front of our house. The peaceful neighbourhood we moved into years ago has become dangerous and stressful.

There needs to be more of a deterrent for drivers to using this stretch of Lakeside Road. Coming from Alpine Crescent, the only sign says, "Traffic Calmed Area."

This is ambiguous to most drivers and they simply drive through the neighbourhood trying to get closer to the park. From the Blueberry/St. Anton direction there is a sign for the Lakeside parking lot, but also a sign pointing down Carleton to Lakeside (for bikes), which cars follow too. There is no deterrent signage at all.

We have a few suggestions which could easily improve the situation:

1) Lakeside Road between Carleton and Alpine should be a no parking zone. It is absurd that parking is permitted on the stretch of Lakeside that coincides with the Valley Trail, but on the next block to the north, parking is prohibited. The Carlton/Alpine stretch of Lakeside has to deal with the boat launch and park traffic while the other end, equally close to the launch, is no parking;

2) At a minimum, this stretch should be permit/resident only (perhaps a nominal annual permit so local boaters would have access but visiting tourists would stick to the lot);

3) Clear signage should be installed on Archibald deterring cars from going further. "No car access or parking for Lakeside park beyond this point — residents only," as an example. These signs should be installed at Archibald/Carlton and Archibald/Alpine intersections;

4) White lines should be painted on the corner of Archibald and Carlton, directing traffic to stay on Archibald;

5) Boat launch users should park on the north end of Lakeside Road. — where the Valley Trail is not running parallel, or they can drop their boat and park further away. Boats are getting bigger and people are backing up their trucks right onto the trail — with very poor visibility of cyclists and skateboarders flying around the corner;

6) Overflow parking should be diverted to Hillcrest Drive rather than Lakeside Road;

7) Improve transit access to Lakeside Park so that users are discouraged from driving. It seems ironic that Whistler is purchasing carbon offsets yet we are encouraging people to drive to the park.

Clear signage and enforcement of the rules will solve this problem before an accident occurs.

Alta Vista, one of Whistler's iconic old neighbourhoods, was never meant for this much vehicle traffic. We have been watching the situation worsen each year — the problem has gotten out of hand. We really hope the municipality can address these concerns before somebody gets seriously hurt.

David Berkowitz


The Creekside Village journey

G. D. Maxwell's opinion piece about Creekside is not correct on several points (Pique, Aug.6). The writer missed our point in developing a remerchandising plan for the property. And G.D. didn't even ask me personally about the plan, so I could explain it in more detail before perpetuating wrong information in the Pique

Rent: Let's set the record straight once and for all. The rents at Creekside (the whole area including Creekside Village) are considerably less than those rents found in Whistler Village and are affordable for most types of businesses. The Chamber's own commercial rent report supports this. (Editor's note: Main floor space in Creekside runs from $20 to $53 per square foot, compared to $35 to $55 on Main Street, and $50 to $63 for groundfloor space in Marketplace.) As a retail property expert who has leased over 5 million square feet of space across Canada and administered to thousands of leases during more than 30 years in the retail property business, I can state with utmost authority that the rents in Creekside Village are in keeping with similar sized markets across Canada — and that market excludes the vast majority of the approximate 2.7 million tourists to Whistler!

Being Local: The primary trade area for Creekside Village is South of Whistler Village. That's about as local as it gets.

Creekside Village isn't pinning its future on the overall visitor/tourist trade; but there are several hundred hotel rooms among some of Whistler's best rated hotels in the immediate vicinity that can't be ignored. On the other hand, catering only to locals is not sustainable. The market is only about 10,500 people. The overall amount of retail rentable area per person in the resort makes catering only to locals economically unrealistic. 

Creekside Village will cater to both locals and the visitors to the area equally.

Creekside is a great place: There are many great businesses in the Creekside area. Our goal is to add a unique and interesting mix that is not duplicated in other parts of the municipality. Thus, the totally unique idea.

And those businesses may very well be local. Thus the uniquely Canadian idea.

G.D. Maxwell is correct that Creekside Village can't sustain the entire area by itself. To have a vibrant Creekside area will take all stakeholders buying into making Creekside an alternative node of experience than Whistler Village. The owner of Creekside Village is taking a bold and positive step toward that and is asking the balance of the Whistler community — local government, business people and consumers — to join in that journey.

Peter D. Morris

Greenstead Consulting Group

Help for Creekside

There's talk about getting the Creekside vibrant again adding uniquely Canadian tenants.

I have a simple two-part plan of action:

1. Turn the corner log building into the new "Boot" brew pub and "ballet." There was no more iconic Canadian business in town than the Boot. Also, Make it family friendly with an all-you-can- eat salad bar (like the old Creekhouse) when the Rim Rock owners owned it in the early '80s. At 8 p.m., kids out, and at 9 p.m. the "ballet" starts.

2. Relocate the Whistler museum to Creekside near the Boot. The biggest event in our town's history (besides the Olympics) was Rob Boyd's winning the World Cup Downhill race in 1989.

Locating it steps from the finish line and steps from Rob Boyd Way is common sense.

Do that, and the other businesses will thrive!

Peter Beers 

Woodinville, WA, and Whistler Creekside