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Lot 1/9 plans clarified, but not all satisfied

Meeting marks last opportunity for public discussion before construction begins this month

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Celebration Plaza’s public park and amphitheatre will be available to the public after the Winter Games wrap up in 2010.

That was one main points stressed by organizers of the community information update on Lot 1/9, held Thursday, April 24, which saw approximately 90 people come out to learn more specifics about the development.

“The site is generally not going to be available to the public until after the Games, because construction will take place in 2008 and 2009 and then there is another phase of development that occurs in 2010 after the Games,” said Martin Pardoe, manager of parks planning with the municipality.

“When that phase is complete, towards the end of 2010, the site will then be available to the public.”

The information update was called earlier this month when members of the public, spearheaded by activist organization Whistler Watch, presented a petition to council opposing deforestation of the last remaining undeveloped parcel in the village. The petition had over 800 signatures but drew the ire of council members over inaccuracies in the preamble.

Thursday’s peaceful meeting also marked one of the last opportunities members of the public had to talk with municipal officials and council about the Celebration Plaza development before construction starts this month on the four-acre area bordered by Blackcomb Way, the Village Stroll and Marketplace Lodge.

“We were please with the turnout and the wide variety of comments that came from people,” said Parode.

“Most of the comments I received from people were about understanding what is going to be on the site and when it is going to be available to the public.”

The information update, held in the new public library’s community room, had approximately 10 colourful storyboards arranged in a circle describing how the project will look in the next few years.

In the centre of the room, municipal staff had arranged a binder with comments from a public meeting held in 2006 on what to do in the area, which helped stress their point that the municipality has gone through a two-year public consultation process on the project to get to this stage.

Councillor Bob Lorriman said what surprised him was about five people he talked to that afternoon thought property taxes were being spent on the development.

“It is the hotel tax not the property tax that is going into it,” explained Lorriman.

“I was kind of surprised. I thought most people understood that, so I was happy to get the message out.”

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