According to Bill Barratt, the general manager of community services for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, residents of Emerald Estates are not likely to see a winter pedestrian route in the near future.
Support for a year-round pedestrian walkway to the subdivision was renewed recently after the accidental death of a Japanese student in December who was going to Emerald during a snowstorm and after transit service had ended for the evening. A visitor from New Zealand is presumed to have committed suicide on the same stretch of road shortly afterwards.
There is a Valley Trail to Emerald, but because of its proximity to the highway, its generally closed from November to March, depending on snow conditions.
The parks department explored other routes to Emerald six years ago, but because of the challenges posed by the terrain, they opted to build the trail along the foreshore of the lake. The trail was built as part of the sewer extension to Emerald at a cost of over $1 million.
The municipality acknowledges that snowclearing operations create a safety hazard for pedestrians, and encourages people travelling to Emerald to use public transit.