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Whistler U looks to council for a sign



Whistler University proponents want some sign from council that their project has a future.

What they don't want, university spokesperson Doug Player told council at Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting, is for the rezoning application, which was submitted to the municipality this month, to sit static in the hall in a web of decision-making.

"You said you're open for business," said Player. "We hope you will give us an indication that we can move forward with the rezoning process rather than have our rezoning, that was put in a week ago, languish at the hall."

That's the last thing that mayor wants.

"We're very happy that the rezoning application is now in the hall," Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden told Player who was joined by supporters crowding into the small meeting room at municipal hall.

Player, and architect Peter Lang, reviewed the Whistler U proposal for council, highlighting the 1,500-student school that would go on the privately owned Alpha Creek lands north of Function Junction. It's a multi-million dollar, multi-phase development.

"It will support and it will drive tourism," said Player. "It will improve our economy year-round."

Council cautioned the developers, however, that this is a huge project, one that requires much consideration before it can be given the nod.

Councillor Duane Jackson pointed out that the project is two and a half times the size of the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood; Councillor Jayson Faulkner compared it to the first phase of the village development.

"It's a huge milestone type of project," he said.

When asked after the meeting when she expects to have some clarity around the proposal, the mayor said: "I would suspect that it would be a matter of some months... before we can give them a signal."

Though she was hesitant to put a timeframe on it, she was clear that council would not keep the developers in a holding pattern, waiting and spending money.

She said: "We're not going down that road."