The long awaited, and at times controversial, Nita Lake Lodge
is nearing completion and is scheduled to open in December.
The upscale 77-suite lodge on the south shore of Nita Lake
includes a fitness spa, conference facilities, three restaurants and full
concierge service. Exclusive private residences on a 23-acre site on the west
side of the lake will offer the intimacy of a high-end private chalet will all
the services and amenities of the luxury hotel. The 14 residences are also
Managed by Boutique Hotels & Resorts of British Columbia, a
company founded by former Pan Pacific Whistler general manager Mike Duggan, the
Nita Lake Lodge is the fourth upscale hotel in the company’s portfolio. Others
include the Cove Lakeside Resort in Westbank, The Oswego Hotel in Victoria and
the Outback Resort in Vernon. Additional properties under construction include
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, L’Hermitage Hotel in Vancouver and
The Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos.
Adjacent to the Nita Lake Lodge will be a railway station,
which is also nearing completion. However, the Whistler Mountaineer passenger
rail service ends its season Oct. 14, so the railway station may not be used
until next spring.
The development history of the Nita Lake Lodge dates back to
2001, when the project was first proposed. The size and scale of the hotel was
an issue for some people, including then-councillor Ken Melamed, as was its
impact on the Creekside area.
Acquiring the bed units for the development was also
contentious. The final development package approved in 2003 included the
purchase of 27 acres of wetlands at Alpha Creek, which had bed units, the transfer
of those bed units to the Nita Lake Lodge site, and the preservation of 25
acres of the wetlands. As well, the developers built more than 200 employee
beds on two different sites.
The original deal also included a cash donation of more than $1
million to health care and recreation facilities in Whistler. The donation was
separated from the rezoning proposal under threat of legal action from a
neighbour. In 2004 a B.C. Supreme Court judge halted construction on the
project when the same neighbour filed a lawsuit challenging the municipal bylaw
for the project. The judge agreed the bylaw, as originally written, was
illegal. Several weeks later the provincial government stepped in to validate
the bylaw in the legislature.