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Municipality on standby as storm brings heavy rainfall to Whistler

UPDATE: RMOW sets up self-serve sandbag station for residents at Public Works Yard, Ski Callaghan closes for weekend



A rainfall warning remains in effect for Whistler with long episodes of rain, at times heavy, continuing.

Up to 100mm is expected for Howe Sound by Saturday morning. Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Environment Canada is warning people to watch for possible washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts.

Environment Canada meteorologists will update alerts as required at You can email reports of severe weather to or tweet with the hashtag #BCStorm.

Municipal staff is on standby thanks to a weather alert calling for 100 to 200 mm of rainfall by the end of the week. On Friday, Feb. 6, the RMOW announced it had set up a self-serve sandbag station for residents that is accessible 24 hours a day until the risk of flood subsides located outside the gates of the Public Works Yard on Highway 99. Bags, sand and shovels are being provided free of charge.

“The municipality will be monitoring the situation,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden during her mayor’s report at Tuesday’s meeting (Feb.3).

“Batten down the hatches.”

Staff, she added, is paying particular attention to the Tapley’s Farm neighbourhood. Two homes in that neighbourhood were badly affected during a flood in December when Crabapple Creek spilled its banks

That was on Wednesday Dec. 10 when more than 70 mm of total precipitation fell in one day breaking the 1998 record of one-day rainfall.

When asked if it was the municipality or individual property owners who should be sandbagging against flood, the mayor said: “If it was my property, I’d be out there sandbagging.”

The municipality is also looking at more permanent measures that could be taken in the future, such as creating berms.

Meanwhile challenging weather conditions have forced Ski Callaghan to close temporarily over the BC Family Day long weekend.

The closure is due to the recent intense weather systems and forecast for the coming days. Whistler Olympic Park and Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures, which form the joint venture Ski Callaghan, will re-assess the situation on Tuesday.

The decision has been made to preserve the snow left on the trails. Heavy rain and standing water are currently making it impossible to groom until at least Tuesday.

Skiers, snowshoers and fans of the other activities available, like biathlon and tobogganing, can obtain trail condition updates on

The promotional offer of a 50 per cent discount on day tickets for BC Family Day on February 9 has been rescheduled to March 23 to give families a chance to hopefully enjoy a truly snowy day at Ski Callaghan in March.

Mons development to link Valley Trail with underpass

Bikers, dog walkers, and commuters living at the north end of Whistler may have a seamless Valley Trail path to Nesters by the end of 2015.

On Tuesday, council approved plans that would allow the developers of the large industrial site at Mons, on the west side of the highway north of Nesters, to build an underpass at the railway, rather than the approved overpass originally in development plans.

It is cheaper and easier to build than the overpass — cheaper by 22 per cent, which makes a difference not only to the bottom line of the developers, but also to the municipality, which is responsible for part of the costs of the trail.

Engineers have pinned the cost of an overpass at more than $1.9 million while the underpass will cost roughly $1.62 million.

The municipality’s portion of that is $718,000, and is subject to approval in the 2015 municipal budget. The municipality is also on the line for costs to finish off the Valley Trail by Cypress Place, connecting the northern edge of the underpass to the new neighbourhood south of Meadow Park.

That cost, too, would be included in the 2015 budget — yet to be approved

“The underpass has to be done in the driest part of the year,” said Steve Bayly, one of the site developers before Tuesday’s council meeting. “Likely August.”

Councillor Steve Anderson raised concerns about the low-lying area and the water table at the site.

“Initially staff were a little skeptical about going underneath given where the water table is,” admitted Jan Jansen, general manager of resort experience, adding that the municipality engaged engineers to prove out the plan.

“We’re satisfied that that solution will obviously work, and save the municipality and the developer some costs.”