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Nita Lake to provide almost $1 million to municipality

Fire and Water: Changing Whistler’s Ways

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The municipality and Nita Lake Lodge finally shook hands on agreement over the hotel's employee housing obligations.

During Tuesday's council meeting, Bill Brown, manager of community planning, announced that instead of building their previously promised employee housing, Nita Lake will give the municipality $950,000 and a 0.717 hectare plot of land.

"The developer, due to financial constraints, is unable to build those 22 units," said Brown.

The money will be deposited in a "Cheakamus Crossing Affordable Employee Housing Reserve Fund" to fund the Whistler Housing Authority's building in the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood.

The two groups have been at the negotiation table for almost six years, since the developers first got the OK to build a 77-room hotel, train station and some market housing while also building employee housing.

The developers of the lodge built a 44-unit townhome complex on Alta Lake Road three years ago, but never built the other 22 units because of "financial constraints," said Brown.

Some Whistler numbers slipping

The latest figures on the Whistler community are in.

On Tuesday, Dan Wilson from the Whistler Centre for Sustainability presented the results from the 2008 community monitoring report to council, and generally the statistics are optimistic. However, some areas are worth paying attention to, including:

• The proportion of permanent residents with incomes below the cost of living increased from 27 per cent in 2007 to 31 per cent in 2008. For seasonal residents, that number went up from 70 per cent to 85 per cent. Housing, recreation and food all rank as high cost items.

• Visitor satisfaction in the summer is down for the third year in a row, even though satisfaction in the winter is up. Wilson said Tourism Whistler is perplexed by this statistic and is going to look into it.

• Whistler citizens are consuming 575 litres of water per day, compared to the national average of 335 litres.

For more information, visit www.whistler2020.com .

Burbury development moves forward, slowly

Councillors gave first reading Tuesday to rezoning bylaws for Alex Bunbury's housing proposal near Kadenwood and Bear Creek Estates in Creekside.

The rezoning would allow for two homes at 3,500 square feet each, which are already built, two new market housing homes of 5,000 square feet, and four employee housing units.

Council was concerned about the resident housing piece of the plan and decided not to give the application second reading.

"This is a goofy place for affordable resident housing," said Councillor Eckhard Ziedler. "It will require people have motor vehicles."

Bunbury, who was sitting in the audience, agreed with councillors, saying: "Our suggestion was perhaps that lot could be dedicated to the community and that money could be taken and used elsewhere."

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