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Intrawest’s Whistler South Comprehensive Development Strategy was given fourth reading by council Monday, but the number of bed units that may be left “floating” was increased.

The Whistler South CDS was passed by a 4-3 margin — the same margin the project received when the previous council voted on third reading in November. All incumbent councillors voted the same way they did at third reading, with Ken Melamed and Dave Kirk opposed.

Councillor Nick Davies, who was elected in November and took former councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden’s place on council, also voted against the CDS. Davies did not state his reasons.

The even split among the six councillors — Ted Milner, Kristi Wells and Stephanie Sloan voted for adoption of the CDS — left Mayor Hugh O’Reilly to cast the deciding vote in favour of the project, as he did at third reading.

Prior to the vote, however, an amendment to the covenant covering The Peaks and Spring Creek portions of the project was passed which decreased the number of bed units which Intrawest must use in those new subdivisions. The intention of the amendment, put forward by Melamed, was to increase the setback from creeks and streams. What it also did was increase — from 106 to 172 — the number of bed units Intrawest may still have “floating” after the Creekside, Spring Creek and The Peaks components of the Whistler South CDS are finished.

Melamed noted the increased number of floating bed units was “a little contradictory to the original purpose of the Whistler South CDS,” which was to provide certainty about where Intrawest’s final bed units will be built.

Last summer staff suggested to council there be some flexibility in the CDS densities to allow for fine tuning of the development sites. The original number of bed units that could be left floating was 106, enough for a small subdivision. On Nov. 1, when council gave the Whistler South CDS third reading, staff was asked to look at the possibility of increasing the number of floating bed units in order to reduce densities and the environmental impact. Staff reported Monday that the planning department, environmental consultants and Intrawest all favoured the original densities.

Wells, who along with Milner opposed the amendment to increase the number of floating bed units, noted that the increase now allows for a subdivision of up to 28 single family lots, and that such a subdivision will have an impact on the environment.

“We started out with the premise of allocating all the remaining bed units and in the process our environmental strategy has developed,” O’Reilly said. “We’re now imposing that on this development. We’ve got competing interests or values.”

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