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No time on staff work plan for Function review

Vacant spaces and out-of-date zoning of industrial area referred to CSP task forces

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Sandwich boards may once again grace the dusty streets of Function Junction after being ordered off the roads by bylaw officials two months ago.

Council directed staff to look into the sandwich board bylaw at Monday's meeting after a discussion about the future of Whistler's industrial area.

A letter from realtor, and former Whistler mayor, Drew Meredith, prompted that discussion.

"I am writing to suggest that the municipality review all of the zoning in Function Junction," said Meredith. "I believe Function Junction needs a new identity. It is currently a mish mash of contractor supply houses, retail stores, office and residential."

Meredith went on to draw council's attention to the substantial vacancy rate in the area.

"There does not appear to be any new business wishing to locate in the area and some that have been interested do not qualify to be there as per zoning," he added.

But some council members were hesitant to add a review of Function's zoning to staff's already heavy workload.

Instead they referred the letter to the economic and built form task forces which are part of the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan. There are 16 different CSP task forces working on recommendations and action plans for the municipality and other community partners.

But while on the topic of Function Councillor Marianne Wade asked staff to review the sign board bylaw.

Staff explained that a letter of complaint sparked February's crackdown on sandwich boards; technically it is against the law to have sandwich boards in Function, as well as the village.

However, Bob MacPherson, general manager of planning and development, said on Monday that there is some flexibility to have different signage regulations in Function.

Staff will be reviewing council's request.

Tapley's residents still concerned about developing road end

Only two residents from Tapley's Farm spoke out about their concerns of plans to move a home into their neighbourhood and on to existing vacant land at Monday's council meeting.

The land in question is an empty road end, located next to the park at the end of Balsam Way.

Council proposes to move an existing 1,300 square foot house to the site where it will become employee housing.

Long-time Tapley's Farm resident Patrick McCurdy asked council for some answers relating to the history of the area and the original purpose of those road ends.

"We're concerned they we’re part of an original arrangement," he said. "Are we actually respecting what was in that first plan…"

Tapley's Farm was developed 25 years ago and was intended to be the first employee housing project in Whistler. The resident restricted covenants were later dropped and the homes became free market homes.

The municipality's general manager of planning and development, Bob MacPherson, said the purpose of the road end beside the park was to access the Emerald Forest, which has since been protected for the community by the RMOW.

Council has yet to make their final decision on the house move. They are reviewing flooding and geotechnical reports. They have also pledged to hold public information meetings, such as the one held at Monday's council meeting, before developing any other road end for employee housing.

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