Trion International drew praise for the design of its proposed five-star hotel but many people at Monday’s public hearing on the project were critical of the size of the buildings and the impact it will have on traffic in the area. The proposed hotel includes 368 guest rooms, a full-service convention centre, restaurant, lounge, bistro, health spa and retail space on three properties at the base of Whistler Mountain’s village station. An underground service building for Whistler Mountain is also part of the proposal. Residents of Mountain Edge, the townhouse complex on the other side of Whistler Way from the proposed hotel, were concerned about an increase in traffic on the road, parking problems and noise as a result of the hotel development. They were also disappointed they had not been consulted by Trion prior to the rezoning application going to a public hearing. Paul Burrows, a member of the Advisory Planning Commission, which approved the project subject to a number of conditions, said in his opinion a number of those issues had not been addressed, including the issue of supplier access once Spring Lane is closed. "If all the merchants on the south side of Mountain Square are illegally using Spring Lane, their suppliers will have to deliver some other way," Burrows said. He also noted Whistler Way was intended to be a dead end street but has been opened up to allow right-in, right-out access to Highway 99. However, many people make illegal left turns onto and off of the highway at the intersection. "I see no traffic solution other than a highway underpass at the south end of Whistler Way, and that won’t help the residents of Whistler Way." Jim Voss, a traffic consultant hired by Trion, said two traffic counts were done at the Whistler Way/Highway 99 intersection and only about 10 per cent of vehicles make illegal left hand turns at the intersection. He also said there were anomalies in traffic over the Christmas holidays due in part to the closure of the Whistler Creek lift. Ministry of Highways traffic counts between Whistler Creek and Village Gate Boulevard over the holidays indicated a 20 per cent increase in traffic, Voss said. One other speaker questioned whether another convention facility was needed, and what it would do for the community. Mayor Ted Nebbeling responded that that was not an issue to be debated at a public hearing on rezoning. A number of people spoke in favour of the project, including Whistler Mountain’s planning consultant, Howard Nemtin. Nemtin noted the project would provide safer access for pedestrians and Ski Scamps. He added the convention facility would benefit merchants in the area and that it was always intended Mountain Square would be serviced by access under buildings, rather than by Spring Lane. Some residents of Telemark II, who had been consulted by developer Vlad Plavsic, also expressed support for the project. Plavsic apologized to those area residents who hadn’t been consulted. "I care for Whistler, I’ve been a part of Whistler since Day 1," Plavsic said. "We’re dedicate to creating a quality hotel." Council reserved a decision on the rezoning application.