News » Whistler

Meadow Park Sports Centre set for upgrades

Council briefs: Telus office approval deferred; GranFondo, Beer Fest set for September



The cardio room and stretching area at the Meadow Park Sports Centre (MPSC) are set for an upgrade thanks in part to a substantial donation from the Community Foundation of Whistler's (CFOW) Emerald Foundation.

CFOW board members were on hand for the Aug. 14 council meeting to present a cheque for $400,000 to Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

"We are grateful for this generous donation from the CFOW. It supports our shared efforts to expand and enhance the opportunities for the Whistler community to stay active," Wilhelm-Morden said in a release announcing the project. "The additional space in the cardio room and a dedicated new stretching area created by enclosing the balcony will allow even more people to enjoy this community space."

The CFOW's Emerald Foundation is a donor-advised fund through which donors can provide input on how their money is used.

"This fund is set up to be broad in scope, addressing whatever needs and interests arise for the donors and/or that the foundation shares with the donors based on our knowledge of the community. In this case, the Emerald Foundation Fund's donors have a strong desire to remain anonymous," said CFOW executive director Carol Coffey.

"This particular fund is a flow-through fund, meaning that the donations are given away each year rather than being permanently invested. We hope to work with the donors over the next 20 years, give or take, to direct funds to various community programs and projects."

At the Aug. 14 council meeting, CFOW board member Craig Beattie read some words from the anonymous donors: "The Meadow Park Sports Centre is wonderful, but some of its facilities are being impacted by a significant growth in customers. In particular, during certain times of the year, the stretching area is utilized well beyond its capacity," he said.

"We wanted to fund the creation of a new, larger stretching area with the assurance that it would be available to all users at all times, without ever being used for private sessions or classes."

The donation makes up a significant portion of the project's estimated $1.4-million budget.

Design concepts have been presented and work will take place next year.

Meanwhile, the MPSC will be closed for annual maintenance from Aug. 20 to Sept. 3. The swimming pool will remain closed until Sept. 18.

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A proposal from Telus to build office space on Lorimer Road was tabled at the Aug. 14 council meeting, with council hoping to get more information from the applicant.

In its proposal, Telus asked for setback variances on its lot at 7200 Lorimer Rd. to allow for the construction of the building.

But in discussing the variances, council wondered why Telus now needs office space when it has operated on the lot without it since the late '70s.

"It just seems odd to me that something that's been in place since 1979 without offices now needs offices in the middle of a residential zone," Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said. "I have to say I'm not comfortable with this."

In the end, council opted to table the decision until municipal staff or Telus can provide more details about the need for the building.

"I'd just point out too that Telus has been a good corporate partner in this community, sponsored a lot of events in our dark days," Councillor John Grills said.

"I agree with the tabling to get some further information on the use of this space, but I just wanted to point out those things as well."


The ninth annual RBC GranFondo (Saturday, Sept. 8) and the sixth annual Whistler Village Beer Festival (Sept. 11 to 16) are set to return after receiving council approval at the Aug. 14 meeting.

In the case of GranFondo, council approved a Special Event Permit with a capacity of over 500 for the afterparty at the finish line in Whistler Olympic Plaza.

The Whistler Village Beer Festival received the same permits for beer-tasting events in the plaza on Sept. 15 and 16.


Upgrades to a FortisBC pipeline are set to get underway next month.

"Over the past few years Whistler has had significantly greater development than we originally projected. Further, the compressed natural gas buses that were added by BC transit has increased our load by 18 per cent," said Yeasmin Alfaruq, senior project manager with Fortis, at the Aug. 14 council meeting.

"So based on those two factors, FortisBC's system does not meet demand during peak usage."

To increase the supply of natural gas, Fortis plans to install a high-capacity, five-kilometre natural gas line from Function Junction to the intersection of Nordic Drive and Highway 99, where it will also build a new regulating station.

Fortis will utilize both new and existing pipelines in the project, explained project manager Barry Best.

"This increases our pressure immensely to provide gas to the far end of the northern part of Whistler and for the bus capacity for years to come," Best said. "We have received the permit from (the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure) ... we've got five kilometres of new pipe and roughly one of existing."

Work on the project is set to get underway after the Labour Day weekend, and is expected to take about 12 weeks.


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