By Alison Taylor
Developers have found another way to maximize the development
potential on their Wedge lands immediately north of Whistler.
A new subdivision plan for Green River Estates spreads the
108-home development throughout the 600-acre parcel of land, on both the east
and west sides of Highway 99 as the zoning allows.
The plan was submitted to the Ministry of Transportation after
the developer’s attempt at rezoning which would have seen all the homes to be
built on the east side of the highway was stymied at the regional district in
Through that rezoning the developers hoped to build all 108
homes on just the east side of the highway despite the fact they were only
given the go-ahead to build 64 homes on that portion of their land. With that
rezoning came the developer’s offer to increase its community benefit
contribution from $1.1 million to almost $2.5 million.
But, due in large part to Whistler’s negative reaction to the
rezoning, the regional district board deferred making a decision.
Developers have presented an alternative and now they don’t
need rezoning from the SLRD.
“I actually preferred the other plan (with the homes only on
the east-side),” said SLRD Board Chair John Turner, upon learning of the new
subdivision plan this week. “It’s a more compact community and in fact it’s a
lot smarter, I feel, than trying to spread out the development over both sides
to get the number of units. I do appreciate that they’re going to need X-number
of units in order to pay for the infrastructure that they’re putting in.”
But Whistler has taken an aggressive stance against any
attempts at rezoning that would increase the number of homes on the land.
Whistler council accepts the developer has the right to build
64 homes on the east side. It is against any plans to rezone the east-side land
for 108 homes.
The matter is further complicated by the fact that the lands
are part of a RMOW boundary expansion proposal and could one day be a part of
Whistler rather than Area C of the SLRD.
Mayor Ken Melamed who has vociferously opposed the rezoning at
the SLRD board table questioned whether building on the west side of the
highway was even achievable, referring to an earlier SLRD staff report that
called the lands “practically un-developable.” That report from staff also
recommended that the rezoning to increase the density on the east side not go
“You could say it’s another chess move in the ongoing game, if
you will, about how we’re going to resolve this issue about the development on
the edge of our town and what we fully expect to be within our boundaries,”
“What that says to me is that we’re not going to get a speedy
resolution to the boundary expansion because we thought we had a subdivision
application to go forward on….”
A meeting between Whistler and SLRD staff and the developers
Wednesday did not produce any resolutions to the issue.
Developer David Ehrhardt could not be reached for comment before press time Wednesday.