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Whistler strikes back over SLRD’s rogue rezoning

Council votes to withdraw funding over board’s decision on Wedge rezoning



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“It’s still important, in our point of view, to be at the table and be part of the debate and understand that we’re going to win some, we’re going to lose some. But get a chance to put our point of view out there.”

Still, he understands Whistler’s frustrations over this fringe development, particularly as the board supported the rezoning in light of Melamed’s serious concerns.

“In many things we do we try to respect and understand the wishes of most affected parties and Mayor Melamed was very articulate and very passionate about his concerns for that project,” he added.

The idea is also floating among corridor politicians that Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton should try to expand their boundaries in order to remove all influence of the regional district from the corridor.

“There might be some sense made of adjoining boundaries,” said Sutherland.

Melamed spent Wednesday calling stakeholders to inform them of council’s decision.

Both he and Councillor Bob Lorriman voted against the drastic step, calling instead for more information on the impact of the decision. They were defeated.

SLRD Administrator Paul Edgington explained some of the potential ramifications Wednesday.

He said all member municipalities and areas are part of the requisition fund for planning unless they elect not to be a part. The contribution is based on assessed property values, which is why Whistler’s contribution far outweighs the rest.

In 2006 the total requisition from SLRD members for that planning fund was almost $146,000. Whistler’s portion was $104,000. That’s part of an overall planning budget of close to half a million dollars, much of which comes from fees and permits. In other words, Whistler pays 20 per cent of the entire planning budget.

The planning budget changes each year based on project workload.

For 2007 the total requisition budget is $80,500 with Whistler paying more than $57,000.

Edgington said the municipality might still be obligated to pay into the 2007 fund based on the Local Government Act.

He also questioned whether Whistler could have taken a less aggressive route through the Dispute Resolution Provision in the Local Government Act.

In the meantime he cautioned that the Green River bylaws have not yet come before the board for approval and that last week’s board decision simply moved the project along through planning.

When asked how he thinks the board will react Turner said:

“My gut reaction is that they’re all going to be sorry that this happened but whether they’ll feel that they’re going to change their vote on a developer project based on withdrawing of a contribution from Whistler…” said Turner. “It turns it into a monetary type of decision rather than a land use decision so I don’t know how they’re going to react to this, I really don’t.”