By Alison Taylor
Two women who work at the north end of Function Junction say they are scared to walk to the bus stop every night in the pitch dark.
Not only are there no streetlights or sidewalks, Diana Shiner and Nileshni Nend say the cars fly down the curvy Alpha Lake Road where there are no posted speed signs.
“(The bus stop) seems so far away for people who work down here,” said 25-year-old Shiner. “We’re just so scared.”
The women are planning to start a petition calling for bus service to the north end of the industrial park.
They work for Resort Quest, which operates out of Function’s newest building in the north end. Shiner estimates there are seven people from that company alone who take the bus on a daily basis.
Beside that office building, a new 30-unit housing building is slated to be ready for occupancy by March. It will be an employee housing building with the units selling to waitlisters looking for one-bedroom homes.
“We’re certainly hoping that once the occupants are in that building that there will be a possibility of getting transit down there,” said Whistler Housing Authority general manager Marla Zucht.
The municipality confirmed this week that there is room for a bus turnaround in the north end of Function Junction. Whistler’s transit committee has discussed the options of servicing that area as well as the nearby future athletes’ village site.
“We are well aware of the demand down there,” said Scott Pass, Whistler’s transit manager.
They are also looking at service to the Spring Creek subdivision, which currently has no southbound stop.
B.C. Transit is developing a comprehensive plan, which is anticipated in early 2007, with recommendations on frequency, routes, cost and ridership.
One of the major issues, however, is how to fund extra routes.
B.C. Transit has frozen its funding for the past six years, leaving communities to fund any extra or expanded services themselves.
For example, the Squamish-Whistler commuter service is running for its third season this winter and is wholly funded by the two communities. Whistler’s share for the five-month service this season is $146,500. B.C. Transit provides the vehicles.
Municipal information officer Diana Waltmann said: “For us to expand any transit service we’d have to fund it 100 per cent.”
Nita Lake gets power
Work was back on track at the Nita Lake employee housing project this week.
BC Hydro hooked up power to the site on Alta Lake Road last week, allowing crews to return to work on the 44-unit housing development.
Delays throughout the fall have pushed back the occupancy schedule for local employees. They had expected to be in their new homes by the end of 2006. It is not clear when the homes will be ready for occupancy.