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RMOW capital projects nearing completion

More than $50 million worth of capital projects in 2009




More than $50 million worth of municipal infrastructure projects are reaching completion, most of them on time and on budget.

The biggest project is the $37.9 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade that provides more capacity to the plant during the resort's busiest times, while reducing the need for chemicals through the use of microbes and ultra violet light disinfection. The upgrades will also reduce odour around the wastewater plant, which was necessary for the athletes' village and Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood.

Also nearing completion is the $6.9 million debris barrier across Fitzsimmons Creek to mitigate against a land slump in the area that poses a flood threat. It's a project that the municipality assumed from the province in exchange for ownership of the day skier lots. The municipality will implement pay parking in the day skier lots in summer 2010 - first to pay for the barrier, then to generate funding for transit.

The barrier consists of a large steel grill, similar to the one on Whistler Creek that's visible from the Creekside Gondola. The barrier is eight metres high, 12 metres wide and will prevent material from washing downstream, where they can build up and create temporary dams that could break apart and cause flooding.

Also nearing completion is the $4.6 million project to pave day skier lots 1, 2, 3, and 4, a project that included some funding from VANOC. As well, the RMOW has nearly wrapped up an $800,000 upgrade to the Upper Village Connector Trail to make it more pedestrian-friendly.

Most of the paving has been completed but some additional lighting, ramps, stairs and stormwater upgrades will continue over the next few weeks.

The municipality completed a water system upgrade for 21 Mile Creek, including a new water main from the Rainbow Park area to the bottom of Lorimer Road. That project cost an estimated $1.7 million.

Another project that's underway is the Olympic Medals Plaza, which was budgeted at $13.6 million. The cost of the project includes paving and preparing the area for the Olympic and Paralympic Games medal ceremonies. The Olympic phase of the project is nearing completion. Next summer the paving will be replaced with grass and a new playground structure will be installed.

Also in the works is a new Valley Trail connector from Spring Creek to Function Junction, connecting to the Sea to Sky Trail and the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood. The federal and provincial Towns for Tomorrow program is providing $375,000 for the project, which will get underway in spring of 2010.

Other Valley Trail upgrades include repaving sections that are 20 years old, a trail between the Rainbow subdivision and Whistler Secondary School, a connector between the Riverside Campground and Spruce Grove, and a bridge over The River of Golden Dreams that connects to a new housing project opposite Nicklaus North.


Austria Passive House sneak peak today

The Austria Passive House and Whistler Blackcomb Foundation are giving residents a sneak peek at the Austria Passive House today, Thursday, Nov. 26. The building is the first of its kind in Canada, employing passive technologies to make it more energy efficient, while using a variety of sustainable materials and building techniques.

The building will house the Austrian Olympic Committee during the 2010 Games. Following the Olympics it will be turned over the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Through a donation of $150,000 from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation the building will also be retrofitted after the Games to provide office, storage and meeting space for the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association and the Whistler Nordics. It will also serve as a day lodge for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Lost Lake Park.

The open house takes place from noon to 2 p.m. From 12:30 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. there is a live link to Austria where officials in Innsbruck will discuss Passive House technology.

A typical passive house uses 90 per cent less energy than a conventional home through a combination of insulation and air exchange. Other features, like black tiling, absorb more solar radiation to assist in heating the building, while windows are thick and insulated to keep heat in while maximizing exposure to the sun.


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