News » Whistler

Municipality readies for huge performance venue



Whistler will soon have the most advanced outdoor performance venue west of Toronto, announced Manager of Resort Parks Planning Martin Pardoe on Tuesday.

Municipal planners are currently working on the design for a performance pavilion that will go in Celebration Plaza, which has recently been renamed Olympic Plaza.

Once completed, the pavilion will be "the heart, soul, brains and central nervous system for performance capacities on site."

"The pavilion is still in the design, development and detailed costing stage," said Pardoe in a presentation to council at the public meeting.

The construction drawings should go out to tender this summer, with construction starting in the fall. Money will come from the entire plaza's $13.6 million budget.

Pardoe hopes the structure will be ready for its first performances by summer 2011.

Current blueprints see the pavilion having two stages, one large and one small, and a roof to accommodate 650 people sitting or 3,000 people standing.

Municipal staff are also working to make the space as easy for event producers to use as possible with most equipment supplied in Whistler, reduced overhead and high flexibly.

"The more we talk to people, the more we understand that the larger stage is of immense value to event producers," said Pardoe.

Even though the pavilion will not be ready for another year, the plaza's lawn space should be open to the public by the end of the summer.

Meanwhile, the municipality will soon start looking for a legacy art project to put in the Olympic Plaza space. Other host cities have expressed regret in not doing something like this that captures the experience during the Games, said Pardoe.

More information on the $200,000 art project will be released shortly.


Pay parking starts next week

The days of free parking on the skier parking lots 1, 2 and 3 are almost over.

Starting Monday, June 28 drivers will have to pay $12 in the summer and $8 in the winter to park their cars for the day.

"There are lots of good reasons to go ahead," said Melamed during Tuesday's public council meeting. "It is never popular, we know that. There is arguably never a good time, but I am a strong supporter in moving forward in this direction."

Melamed added that it is important to remember that right now the best parking spots are often not available to paying guests. One of the great advantages of pay parking is to make those spaces available, he said.

During the meeting the municipality's general manager of community life, Bob MacPherson, went over the final details with mayor and council.

Swedish company Cale Systems is supplying the parking machines, he said. The machines have been shipped from the company's Canadian headquarters in Montreal and should arrive in Whistler next week.

The municipality has also decided to go with a pay-by-plate system.

After drivers park their car in one of the three lots they will have to go to the pay station and enter their plate number. The image of their license plate will then be recorded. If a license plate number is not found on the pay list a ticket will be issued.

Cale Systems already operate pay-by-plate systems in Calgary and Amsterdam.

MacPherson added transit will be free on June 28, which is the day pay parking begins.

The municipality hopes to collect $2 million a year through the program, and about a third of that money will be put towards transit.

For example, an early bird pass will be put on sale this August or September at a discount rate to encourage locals to take the bus.

The municipality also plans to do a full transit review next year to see how the bus service can be improved.