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Nita Lake Lodge proposal to go to public hearing

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Haibeck proposes transferring those 242 bed units sitting on the Alpha Creek wetlands and developing them on the two Creekside sites.

These are some of the last remaining bed units to be developed in Whistler. As they are quickly running out the bed units have become an increasingly desirable tool for leverage in development schemes, according to Melamed.

"The bed units were conceptual and as far as I’m concerned they don’t exist anymore," said Melamed.

"We are not mandated to use them."

The Alpha Creek bed units would allow the developer to build the 80-room lodge and the 14 single-family lots with some leftover. Those would go back to the municipality.

"They’re leaving bed units on this and I think there are some developers in this room that might think they’re crazy," said Councillor Caroline Lamont, drawing a chuckle from the audience.

Twenty-five acres of the Alpha Creek site would then be preserved as wetlands.

Also known as the Zen lands, these delicate wetlands have been high on the municipality’s wish list for conservation for many years.

While Melamed in principle supports preserving the wetlands, he said this is not the deal to do it.

The sensitive Alpha Creek wetlands are located within a larger 100-acre tract of land on the north side of Function Junction stretching northwest to Alta Lake Road.

Melamed said severing off one section of land would compromise the municipality’s ability to preserve the whole site at a later date.

"The highest and best objective in this case is protection of the entire parcel," he said.

Melamed’s list of concerns didn’t stop there.

He also raised concerns about the changing face of Creekside.

In her staff presentation to council senior planner Kim Needham said that the Nita Lake Lodge project generally conforms to the 1991 Whistler Creek Study, which although old, is still the guiding policy document for development in Creekside.

The Whistler Creek Study suggests that there be an anchor building with a small hotel or lodge at the end of Lake Placid Road.

The study also suggests that there be a park in the area.

"That’s not economically feasible," said Needham.

But Melamed said there aren’t many parks in Creekside, adding that the development plants a large hotel in a very constrained area.

"Creekside is becoming overdeveloped in the way the village has," he said.

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