COUNCIL BRIEFS - July 17, 2012
MEETING AT A GLANCE
Download the complete July 17 meeting package online.
Watch the July 17 meeting or archived meetings online.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
In the committee of the whole meeting, council went through a detailed review of the Official Community Plan (OCP) draft update and provided staff with direction on regarding areas they would like to see amendments. Staff walked council through an edited version of the OCP draft, which included edits made by the Province, First Nations, and staff since the OCP update draft that was given first reading on November 15, 2011. See the council package for the edited version of the OCP.
The OCP is a legislatively required document about regulating and implementing shared community directions. These directions will guide Whistler's development and meet its anticipated needs over the next five years and beyond in support of our Whistler2020 vision to be the premier mountain resort community - as we move toward sustainability.
The public engagement process has ended and the goals, objectives and policies contained within the OCP are a reflection of the extensive input received from Whistler’s citizens and resort community stakeholders over a 20-month period. The 2012-2014 Council Action Plan identified moving forward with adoption of the OCP as a key deliverable. To initiate this process, staff presented council with an overview of the updated OCP at the council policy retreat on June 4, 2012. Council recently approved a new timeline for completing and adopting the OCP update by December 2012. Click here for a copy of the new timeline as outlined in the June 19 OCP Update Administrative Report to council. One change to the timeline is that an information meeting for the public will take place on August 21.
Mike Furey, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) announced that the RMOW has completed its organizational review. The CAO presented the outcomes of the second phase of the organizational structure review, which will see the elimination of three staff positions and the reclassification of four positions to lower pay scales. This follows phase one changes announced in February 2012, which resulted in the total number of divisions and general managers in the organization being reduced from five to three.
The eliminated positions include one of the organization’s two assistant fire chief positions, a purchasing agent, and a building inspector. The reclassified positions include the manager, fiscal planning; a senior engineering technologist; the manager, development services; and the manager, community planning. These changes, along with the reduction from five to three general managers this winter, represent annual estimated savings of $510,858. Over the municipality’s five-year financial planning period this will produce savings in excess of $2.5 million.
A public hearing was held for Zoning Amendment Bylaw (2188 Nordic Drive) No. 1994, 2012.
The purpose of the amendment is to change the zoning to allow for conversion of an existing duplex dwelling to a detached dwelling, and to establish a new zone (RM68). This new zone would continue to allow the uses anticipated by the original zone, but would change the restrictions on single family homes to allow for one detached dwelling on the lands up to a maximum gross floor area of 465 m2. This is consistent with other zones in the RMOW, and consistent within the neighbourhood context, where both parcels across the street are zoned for 465 m2 detached dwellings.
During the June 19 council meeting, council gave first and readings to this zoning amendment bylaw.
No submissions were received by council during the public hearing, and the bylaw received third reading later during the regular council meeting.
View the public hearing agenda and package online.
Mountain Square official reopening celebration
The mayor reported that she attended the celebration of the official re-opening of Mountain Square Sunday, July 15.
The Mountain Square Parkade Waterproofing Project took place from April 23 to June 30, 2012 and was required to replace the waterproofing membrane over top of the roof of the parkade under Mountain Square. Staff consulted with businesses to determine the most efficient and least disruptive way of completing the project, and construction was completed using a compressed schedule during the shoulder season.
Several improvements to Mountain Square were incorporated in the project, including the replacement of paving stones and installation of a new labyrinth design, the addition of a barrier free/accessible route and sit-able walls, and improved lighting. These enhancements will make it easier to accommodate temporary seating and staging for events in Mountain Square.
The celebrations on July 15 included a free yoga session at Lululemon, a First Nations welcome ceremony, opening remarks by the mayor, cake, a DJ set, fashion show by Mountain Square merchants, and live art demonstrations.
The mayor acknowledged staff for all of their hard work on this project and the contractors, Jacobs Brothers Construction. This project was completed with minimal disruption to businesses and was on schedule and on budget.
Bayly Park construction underway
The mayor advised that construction is currently underway on Bayly Park at Cheakamus Crossing. Subject to weather and acceptable tender results, work is scheduled to be substantially complete in October 2012.
Key amenities for Bayly Park will include a playground, a multi-use sports court, an off-leash dog area, an all-weather gravel pitch, Olympic legacy pavilion, tennis court, picnic area, a community garden, sand volley ball courts, trails including the Sea to Sky Trail, public washrooms, and parking.
Amenities will be opened to the public as they are completed and residents can expect to use all aspects of the park by June 2013.
Visit whistler.ca/baylypark for more information and updates.
2012 Community Life Survey
The mayor reported that the 2012 Whistler community life phone survey has been completed by 300 full-time residents and 200 second homeowners. She reported that 84 people have also completed the online version of the survey, which is available until July 20.
The mayor encouraged residents to take the time to complete the survey at whistler.ca/survey. She said, “If you haven’t completed the survey, please do so. It’s really important to get feedback to help plan for the budget and to get feedback about municipal services.”
Results from the 2012 community life survey will be presented in the fall.
Free concerts at Whistler Olympic Plaza
The mayor reported that this past weekend marked the third weekend of free concerts in the Whistler Presents: Concert Series with children’s concerts to augment the Whistler Children’s Art Festival.
To-date thousands of residents and visitors have taken in the free concerts at Whistler Olympic Plaza, with more to come.
The mayor encouraged residents and visitors to attend concerts on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21, when Whistler Olympic Plaza hosts the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Other upcoming concerts include The Mocking Bird, Wil, Chantal Kreviazuk, Spirit of the West, the Great Lake Swimmers, and more.
Concerts are free of charge and are part of the Festivals, Events & Animation program to enhance the visitor experience and help build business for the resort.
Whistler Recreation and Leisure Advisory Committee seeks members
The mayor reported that the RMOW has extended the deadline for applications for the new Recreation and Leisure Advisory Committee (RLAC) to July 31, 2012. This committee takes the place of the former Advisory Parks and Recreation Commission and fills a gap in the advisory groups providing input with RMOW staff and council.
RLAC’s purpose is to provide input to staff and council about indoor and outdoor recreation and leisure opportunities, services, and issues.
For more information, visit the Committees Opportunities page on the municipal website.
Education Planning and Engagement Process
The mayor provided a brief update regarding the Education Planning and Community Engagement Process. A process for considering education opportunities in Whistler was presented to council on June 19.
The mayor reported that the RMOW will be advertising for expressions of interest for members of a new advisory task force from within and outside of the community with expertise in areas such as academic/education; business/ finance; economic development; resort and strategic planning; and community development.
The RMOW is also developing an RFP for an education project manager. The individual will lead the initiative and will bring a combination of local awareness and international experience, as well as resort, strategic and economic planning experience. The mayor reported information will be brought forward at the next regular council meeting on August 21, 2012.
Committees and Meetings:
The mayor reported that she attended the Whistler Excellence awards on July 13. She congratulated all of the deserving recipients of the awards.
The mayor announced the end of the Rainbow Park litigation. She reported that she was pleased that this litigation is over and that the community has such a fabulous asset.
Councillor John Grills reported that Fortis Gas is applying for blanket rates across the province. He encouraged Whistler residents to support this application, as it will reduce natural gas rates in Whistler. Read more on the Fortis BC website.
Councillor Jack Crompton, alternate on the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) Board, reported that he attended a tour of the northern part (Area A and B) of the SLRD. He visited the Bridge River project and reported that this area supplies six per cent of the total hydroelectricity for the province.
Whistler Olympic Plaza Ice Skating Amenity Update
Staff presented an information report updating council on the development of a permanent ice skating amenity at Whistler Olympic Plaza.
A capital project to deliver a more permanent amenity for the 2012-2013 winter season is included within the council approved Five Year Financial Plan 2012-2016.
The new skating amenity will build upon the successes of the 2011-2012 pilot project and address its shortcomings. To significantly reduce start up and operational costs, it is proposed that a refrigerated concrete slab similar to a typical arena floor be installed. This means that the existing pavilion floor and ramps will be converted to a refrigerated concrete slab. The new amenity will also include a permanent and purpose-built refrigeration plant, which is anticipated to be 30 per cent more efficient than the pilot’s plant and will reduce the overall operating costs of the amenity.
The project is currently in the design development and costing stage and will go to tender over the summer. Construction is anticipated to commence following the GranFondo event in September and a public opening is tentatively anticipated to occur prior to the primary holiday season in December.
The development of a skating facility at Whistler Olympic Plaza was part of the Village North development concept in the 1980s and had been considered by the municipality on numerous occasions. Based on visitor feedback received by Tourism Whistler, guests continued to express an interest in skating to round out their winter experience in the resort.
In November 2011, council endorsed the development of a temporary ice skating facility at Whistler Olympic Plaza for the 2011-2012 winter season funded by the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) grant.
In December 2011, the municipality transformed part of Whistler Olympic Plaza’s Great Lawn and Pavilion into a skating rink for the winter season. The skating amenity, which was created with leased equipment, was a test/pilot project. The pilot project’s intent was to test the acceptability, viability and operational costs associated with a modest facility and if deemed successful, to invest in necessary components to provide a more permanent amenity with reduced start-up and annual operational costs.
The temporary pilot proved successful and by season’s end, the project had exceeded its revenue projections attracting over 14,500 skaters and generating approximately $71,000 of revenue.
Lakecrest Lane setback variance approved
Council approved a development variance permit for 3159 Lakecrest Lane to relax the south side setback requirement from 3 to 2.2 metres to permit a hot tub to be installed on the ground floor deck at the back of the dwelling.
This property is a single family lot located in the Lakecrest subdivision. Construction of a detached dwelling is currently under way. The parcel is zoned RS-9 (Residential Single Family Nine); as such, the side setback requirement is 3.0 metres. Additionally, the General Regulations of Zoning & Parking Bylaw 303, 1983 require a 3.0 metre side setback for uncovered swimming pools and hot tubs.
RMOW staff supported the application as their review did not identify any concerns with regard to the proposed variance.
Public hearing called for Function Junction grocery store
Council gave first and second readings to Zoning Amendment Bylaw (Industrial Service Six Zone) No. 2005, 2012. The amendment proposes to rezone the lands from IS1 (Industrial Service One Zone) to IS6 to allow for a modestly sized grocery store to operate from this location.
The applicant’s vision for this business is a locally owned and operated neighbourhood grocery/ convenience store serving people living or working in Function Junction and Cheakamus Crossing.
Creation of the IS6 Zone may be one step toward identifying the changing needs in Function Junction as noted in the 2012-2014 Resort Municipality of Whistler Corporate Plan.
Council expressed some concern about the proposed development competing with existing services in the Village and did not want this business to have a negative impact on existing businesses. Council authorized staff to schedule a public hearing for this zoning amendment bylaw.
In the spring of 2012, the RMOW was contacted regarding a proposal to open a grocery store in Function Junction. Review of the applicable zoning, IS1, showed that while retail uses are permitted, groceries were not on the list of permitted uses. The question was raised as to whether groceries could fall under the permitted use “household items.” To that end, staff received a legal opinion from RMOW solicitors clarifying that within the context of Whistler’s Zoning Bylaw 303 this was not the case, thereby necessitating this Rezoning Application.
Report on Whistler area hiking trails
Hiking is the most popular activity in Whistler during the summer months, and trails form an essential component of Whistler’s recreation infrastructure; and are a core amenity for the mountain resort community’s active residents and visitors. Hiking in the valley and alpine areas of Whistler area has long been a way for people to connect with nature and engage in active recreation.
Council received a staff report on Whistler area hiking trails, which provides a summary of the Report on Whistler Area Hiking Trails, and provides recommendations on the implementation of that report as part of the broader planning of Whistler area recreational trails and the Recreation Master Plan process. This information was previously presented to council at the Committee of the Whole on April 17, 2012.
The Report on Whistler Area Hiking Trails includes an inventory of 70 existing and 37 proposed hiking trails in the region from Culliton Creek (Big Orange Bridge) in the south to Nairn Falls in the north.
In the past hiking trails to the local alpine were constructed and maintained by mountaineering clubs and by provincial parks and forestry agencies. The RMOW and the Squamish Forest District built the sub-alpine Flank Trail by linking and improving old resource roads, and it is currently maintained from Alpine Meadows to Function Junction. Whistler Blackcomb has developed alpine hiking trails on both mountains as an amenity for day visitors accessing the mountains by the lifts from Whistler Village and by the Peak to Peak gondola. The RMOW, the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA) and local trail builders have constructed a large number of low-elevation mountain biking trails. These multi-use trails satisfy most casual hikers but don’t provide the alpine experience desired by dedicated hikers.
The report proposes the creation of a Trails Planning Working Group to promote collaboration among hiking and mountain biking stakeholders in the planning of Whistler area trails. The report also seeks council’s direction to engage the Trails Planning Working Group to prepare a nonmotorized Recreational Trail Plan for inclusion in the 2012 Official Community Plan (OCP) update and the Recreation Master Plan, and to guide the Alpine Trail Program in the current Five-Year Financial Plan.
The report recommends an increased focus on the recognition, promotion and funding of trails; the development of a strategy, and the coordination and management of trails; development of new and existing trails and improvements to trail access (i.e. forest roads); and a program that would provide opportunities for community involvement, including an adopt-a-trail program and a volunteer program.
Festivals, Events & Animation Funding for 2013
Council received a report regarding the Festivals, Events & Animation (FE&A) funding allocation for 2013. The report recommends that $1,200,000 from the current RMI reserve of $2,263,125 be allocated to the 2013 FE&A program for deployment from October 2012 through May 2013 –before provincial confirmation of the 2013 RMI program – to help secure programming for the 2013 FE&A program well in advance of the season.
The 2012-2014 Council Action Plan and the 2012-2014 RMOW Corporate Plan identify the FE&A program as a key deliverable.
The 2012 FE&A planning process was initiated in the winter and concluded on May 1 when council and the Province approved the FE&A 2012 strategies and plans. The late confirmation of programming serves as an ongoing obstacle, because the availability of RMI funds – a significant portion of which are allocated to FE&A – is subject to confirmation from the Province of BC. Historically, the Province has not confirmed RMI funds until April or May.
During the 2012 FE&A planning process several businesses—including hotels, restaurants, retailers, and activity providers—expressed concern that not being able to announce the program until late June does not provide sufficient time to properly promote the FE&A program which, in turn, means the resort has not fully captured the potential impact of the FE&A program. If the Province’s timing remains the same, there would be challenges again with optimizing programming and promotional opportunities for the 2013 FE&A program.
Council approved the recommendation to use RMI reserves to book talent and entertainment for the 2013 FE&A program, enabling the RMOW to secure performers at the best possible rates; attract third party producers on preferred dates; enable resort markers to market and advertise in advance to attract visitors; provide deposits to ensure exclusivity of acts; consider augmentation for festivals and events occurring from January to April 2013; and engage and attract potential sponsors.
A report will be prepared to amend the RMOW budget bylaw for 2012 and 2013.
Download the presentation here.
Building and plumbing bylaw amended to include conditional occupancy for some legalized crawlspaces
Council gave first, second, and third readings to a building and plumbing regulation amendment bylaw to establish a modified building permit process to permit homeowners to legitimize illegally developed crawlspace or basement areas.
The first step in this modified building permit process will be issuing a building permit, which is required for any alteration or construction in Whistler.
Once a building permit has been issued, a municipal building inspector will undertake a site inspection to confirm conformance with permit drawings and review the property for obvious life, health and safety deficiencies.
In many cases it will not be possible to inspect all components of construction requiring an inspection, as the work will have been concealed as part of the illegal construction. In these instances, the RMOW will not issue a conventional occupancy permit. The proposed bylaw amendment provides a mechanism for providing closure for such files, by providing a Schedule N Occupancy Permit – Limited Building Inspections.
Whistler homeowners have a history of illegally developing extra floor area in excess of the gross floor area permitted by the zoning bylaw. The developed spaces are often in over-height crawlspaces that were legally constructed, but not permitted to be developed due to zoning restrictions.
To remedy this problem, council appointed the Illegal Space Task Force on December 20, 2011 to address the long-standing issue of illegal space constructed in single family homes throughout the municipality.
Council adopted Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 1992, 2012 (Gross Floor area Exclusions) during the May 15, 2012 council meeting. This bylaw has provided a solution by which the extra area developed in crawlspaces can be legitimized. This change, allowing for extra floor area, is only the first step in an overall approval process. To complete the legitimization of illegally developed crawlspaces, a building permit and inspections by the municipality are required.
MINUTES OF COMMITTES AND COMMISSIONS
Council received minutes from the Measuring UP Select Committee of May 2, 2012 and the Transit Management Advisory Committee of June 7, 2012 and July 4, 2012.
BYLAWS FOR FIRST AND SECOND READINGS
Council gave first and second reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw (Industrial Service Six Zone) No. 2005, 2012. The purpose of the amendment is to create an Industrial Service Zone with the same requirements as the IS1 Zone (Industrial Service One) with the addition of a grocery store as a permitted use.
BYLAWS FOR FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD READINGS
Council gave first, second and third reading to Building and Plumbing Regulation Amendment Bylaw No. 2007, 2012. The purpose of the amendment is to establish an Occupancy Permit process that may permit homeowners to legitimize illegally developed crawlspace or basement areas.
BYLAWS FOR THIRD READING
Council gave third reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw (2188 Nordic Drive) 1994, 2012. The purpose of the amendment is to rezone the lands from RM24 (Residential Multiple Twenty-Four) to RM68 (Residential Multiple Sixty-Eight) in order to allow for conversion of the existing duplex on the site to a detached dwelling while still maintaining the uses currently permitted under the RM24 zone.
BYALWS FOR ADOPTION
Council passed a motion to adopt Housing Agreement Bylaw (1060 Legacy Way) No. 2004, 2012. The purpose of this bylaw is to authorize the RMOW to enter into a replacement housing agreement modified for the Whistler Housing Authority Rental Apartment Building located at 1060 Legacy Way.
Councillor Roger McCarthy was appointed as the council representative to the Tourism Whistler Board of Directors.
Council made a motion directing staff to bring forward a rezoning application for the BC Transit garage facility.
Council made a motion directing staff to bring forward a zoning amendment bylaw to define restaurant to exclude drive-in and drive-through restaurants. This will be brought forward to council at the next regular council meeting on August 21, 2012.
Councillor Faulkner raised concerns about rafting activity on the River of Golden Dreams resulting in congestion on the river; deposits of garbage and beer cans, which flush into Green Lake, abandoned plastic rafts, and safety concerns. Council directed staff to follow up to find out what could be done. Chief Administrative Officer will bring up concerns at his weekly meeting with local RCMP. Council suggested that better signage about litter and safety could be installed.
Council received correspondence from:
- Brock Rodgers, dated July 4, 2012, regarding setback requirements and bylaw amendments. This letter was referred to staff to look at relaxation of setback requirements under some circumstances.
- Tobias C. Van Veen, dated July 1, 2012, regarding concerns with the Whistler Olympic Plaza sound system. Staff informed council that have met with sound technicians to mitigate noise issues. Technicians have been monitoring sound levels during concerts in the Nester’s and White Gold areas, as well as on Lorimer Road, in addition to measuring normal background sound levels. Adjustments have been made and monitoring is ongoing.
- Clive Camm, External Communications Leader for Vancouver Coastal Health Communications and Public Affairs, dated July 3, 2012, announcing the Whistler Health Care Centre helipad is open and operational.
- The Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, dated June 29, 2012, regarding the Strategic Community Investment Fund program. Staff clarified that the total amount of the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing and Small Community Grants had not decreased in 2012, but rather was dispersed differently. One installment was received from the Province at the end of March and the other was received at the end of June.
- Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative, WWF and Canadians for the Great Bear, dated July 9, 2012, congratulating the municipality for opposing the construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline, bestowing the municipality with the designation of “Canadian Great Bear Community” and requesting endorsement of the Canadians for the Great Bear initiative.