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 with all the services and amenities of the luxury hotel. The 14 residences are also nearing completion.
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 ended 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, 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.