In response to Steve Wraggs letter "The Olympic legacy" (Pique, March 19 th , 2004).
I feel compelled to point out that while there may be many reasons, good or bad, for the municipality to pursue infill, none of the those reasons is because its the, "quickest and easiest". To be sure, infill, by its nature of being close to existing property owners, results in more NIMBY shorts getting knotted than any other possible strategy (particularly developing the no-neighbours neighbourhood of the Callaghan). If its quick and easy youre after, the Callaghan is your baby.
However, criticizing infill for its impact on animal habitat is to conveniently overlook the fact that housing in the Callaghan will also have an impact on habitat and wildlife corridors. In fact, if one had to choose which impact would be more damaging, the answer is obvious the Callaghan has more currently intact forested habitat and contiguous wildlife corridor than any of the proposed infill sites. While I acknowledge that the Callaghan is primarily second growth forest, impacted by both recent forestry and a short history of industrial mining, it is nowhere near as fragmented as the Whistler valley, nor will it be, even with the addition of the proposed Olympic venue and associated infrastructure.
Decreasing the footprint of existing communities, preventing pathogenic urban sprawl, clustering development into contained areas, and reducing commuting distances are all well-accepted strategies for decreasing our settlement impacts on the environment and creating more sustainable communities. Done properly, it should also lead to more vibrant, walkable and safe neighborhoods, where people drive less and local businesses thrive.
To achieve these goals, while at the same time valuing and maintaining green space in and around our neighbourhoods is both possible and necessary. However it does lead to the linked strategy of decreasing our archetypal housing form from the land-consumptive patterns typical of suburban single-family neighborhoods to better designed, compact, and clustered options of increased densities. To say that you dont believe that this is the "right direction" is to overlook the blatant fact that our current North American land settlement patterns are characteristic of the most energy and resource consumptive society in recorded history. If Whistler is serious about sustainability, and if our community is serious about maintaining the environment as a cornerstone of the Whistler experience, we have to get our head out of the sand and face this reality.
We couldn't raise the monies to build a combined library/museum as originally proposed, but now we can afford a more expensive library that doesn't included a museum? Why do we need such an expensive library? I agree that we need a "real library." I use the library, but I'm not sure that being a world class resort means that we have to have a trophy library. We already have a trophy firehall that cost Whistler taxpayers quite a bit. There are other needs that have been out there for more years than needing such an expensive library. And do we need these additional parking spaces? Are all the existing ones in the area full even in high season?