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Nesters Crossing rezoning gets first readings

Council briefs: Turf material to be chosen June 5

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A zoning amendment bylaw for an industrial site north of Whistler Village received first two readings at the April 24 council meeting.

The bylaw for Nesters Crossing proposes to amend the permitted uses of the CTI1 zone to add "freight forwarder and shipping agent" as additional permitted uses and removes the restriction that indoor storage be only for businesses.

The bylaw made its first appearance at the March 6 meeting, when council voted to proceed with review of the proposal after a lengthy discussion (the proponents originally requested 12 amendments, only six of which were supported by staff. In the end, council supported just two of the requested amendments).

One of the rejected amendments on March 6 was a request to increase the maximum number of residential units per parcel from one to four—a request Councillor Steve Anderson returned to on April 24 by way of a proposed amendment.

"We want employers to house their own staff, and we have employers that want to house their own staff, they have plenty of room here," Anderson said.

"I've just got a difficulty rationalizing the contradictory approach we're using for supplying housing for staff when employers want to do it and have the space to provide it."

The amendment was eventually defeated in a 3-3 vote (Councillors Anderson, Jen Ford and Cathy Jewett voted in favour, while Sue Maxwell, John Grills and Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden were opposed. Coun. Jack Crompton recused himself).

"I don't think we need to learn the lessons over and over again. This is an industrial park—there are no sidewalks, there are no streetlights, there are no amenities, there is dump trucks, there is busses, there is other heavy equipment," Wilhelm-Morden said.

"I think we need to follow good planning principles, (and) we need to put housing in areas that are planned for housing. This is an industrial park. I will not support this amendment."

ARTIFICIAL TURF INFILL MATERIAL TO BE CHOSEN JUNE 5

Whistler council will decide which infill material to use for its controversial artificial turf field project at its June 5 meeting.

The project continues to spark discussion, with four more people writing letters to council in opposition this week and another three onhand for the April 24 council meeting to ask questions about the project.

Ann Duffy, a professional sustainability consultant, voiced concerns over the environmental and human health impacts of the turf.

"I'm supportive of this in terms of helping to support the soccer club and creating a longer season for our kids to play soccer. My concern and questions are really around making sure that we make the best and most informed decision we can," Duffy said.

The report to council on June 5 (available online the Friday before the meeting) will help guide council's decision, Wilhelm-Morden said.

"I can say, as well, that there has been a tremendous amount of public consultation, (and) we've retained experts to advise staff and us as to the best surface material possible," she said.

"There has been a lot of work and thought that has gone into the project to date and I am sure that it will continue."

Dawn Titus raised concerns over where the field will end up at the end of its 10- to-15-year lifespan, noting that similar artificial turf products are shipped to Malaysia to be recycled.

"They are constructing a plant in California that should be open in 2020," replied general manager of resort experience Jan Jansen.

"Closer than Malaysia, but there are other alternatives that we are investigating as well."

SOLID WASTE BYLAWS UPDATED

Updates to definitions and increases to tipping fees are being planned as part of an update to Whistler's Solid Waste Bylaws.

The amendment bylaws received first three readings at the April 24 council meeting.

The amendments seek to clarify wording in the recently updated Solid Waste Bylaw around what constitutes a wildlife attractant.

"We are proposing that the new wording would be 'any substance or material, with or without odour, which attracts or is likely to attract wildlife, including but not limited to food, other edible products, domestic garbage or any item having contained food, pet food, seed, grease, oil, antifreeze, paint, petroleum products and compost other than grass clippings, leaves or branches,'" explained bylaw supervisor Lindsay Debou.

"Sometimes it's not common knowledge for people to know that paint, for example, is an animal attractant, and so it's easier for the public to understand what our expectations are when we clearly outline that."

Maxwell eventually voted against the bylaw, citing concerns with the wording.

Under the new definition, everyone with a barbecue outside would immediately be out of compliance, she said.

"I'm worried with our rephrasing of this and then mandating that everything has to be in a wildlife proof container or wildlife proof enclosure that we are now setting up some unrealistic expectations that might be hard for us to meet," Maxwell said.

Debou noted the new definition is similar to a previous definition used locally.

"To date, the bylaw department has never had a complaint with a barbecue and we've never had an incident with a barbecue," she said. "That being said, we definitely don't want to make things prohibitive for people."

Proposed tipping fee increases in the updated bylaw include garbage (from $140 to $155 per tonne), mixed waste ($300 to $325), mattresses ($15 to $20) and biosolids ($130 to $140).

Fees related to invasive species are dropping from $140 to $30 per tonne.

"Since the most recent tipping fee was increased last year, we've seen higher disposal costs that have come into effect, so increasing the fees at this time will help cover more costs in handling and disposing of the waste, while trying to balance the impact of illegal dumping," said acting manager of solid waste management Andrew Tucker.

PAVING CONTRACT AWARDED

Also at the April 24 meeting, a contract worth $1,333,144 was awarded to Alpine Paving Ltd., for Whistler's 2018 road and trail reconstruction.

Major road segments to be repaved this year include Village Gate Boulevard (from Highway 99 to Gateway Drive), Northlands Boulevard (Lorimer Road to Village Gate Boulevard) and Blackcomb Way (pedestrian bridge to Chateau Boulevard).

On the Valley Trail, areas needing attention include near Meadow Park, St. Andrew Spur, Brio, Beaver Flats, Millar's Pond to Spring Creek and the Cultural Connector sections.

The total amount of roads and trail needing re-paving this year is about 22,000 square metres, requiring 16,000 tonnes of asphalt.

Alpine Paving's bid was the only compliant bid received, and came in 2.5 per cent below the engineer's estimate of $1,368,000.

As has been the case in previous years, the asphalt will be trucked from Squamish rather than sourced from the plant in Cheakamus Crossing.

ROGGEMAN LEAVING; TAX BYLAWS GET FIRST READINGS

Municipal Director of Finance Ken Roggeman is set to leave his post with the RMOW after 14 years to take on a new opportunity at the water improvement district on Salt Spring Island.

"Ken has been part of the Whistler community for 27 years and part of the municipal staff for 14 years," Wilhelm-Morden said at the April 24 council meeting. "As Director of Finance, Ken has been an integral part of the municipal team, bringing a wealth of knowledge, commitment and integrity to his work on behalf of the community."

Meanwhile, Whistler's 2018 tax bylaws received first three readings at the April 24 meeting.

The bylaws include a proposed tax increase of 2.25 per cent and 1.1- and 4.5-per-cent increases to sewer parcel and solid waste fees, respectively. There is no proposed increase for water parcel and user fees.

The bylaws will be up for adoption at the May 8 meeting.

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