View frequently asked questions and answers about the 4500 Northlands project.
Additional information will be added, so please check back often.
The proposed development site is made up of two adjacent legal parcels:
- Large parcel located at 4500 Northlands Boulevard, north of Lorimer Road
- Small parcel at the northwest corner of the project site, located at 4711 Settebello Drive
The two parcels comprise approximately 5.2 hectares (12.85 acres), and are generally bounded by Highway 99 to the west, the Montebello neighbourhood to the north and east, and Lorimer Road, and south of Settebello Drive, and to the south the site is bounded by the multi-family tourist accommodation residential developments of Symphony at Whistler and Glacier’s Reach.
On the southeastern portion of the site is the Whistler Racquet Club consisting of a clubhouse building, indoor and outdoor tennis and pickleball courts, and a café. The site has also hosted other seasonal outdoor activities.
The lands are otherwise undeveloped.
The lands were initially granted development rights for a resort in 1990 through a proposal call by the municipality for developments that would deliver amenities that contributed to achieving Whistler’s vision as a world class, four season destination resort community. Following some approved modifications to the zoning in 1998, further development concepts were initiated over the years but never brought to completion. The site has remained undeveloped except for the existing tennis facility.
The land owner also owns a large piece of land across the street from the development site which will remain as a conservation area supporting the Fitzsimmons Creek riparian and wetland ecosystem, floodplain management and the open space and trail network adjacent to Whistler Village.
Zoning is a set of rules that set out how property can be used and developed according to the municipality’s goals and priorities. In Whistler, zoning is described in the RMOW Zoning and Parking Bylaw 303, 2015.
Currently, the 4500 Northlands site is mostly zoned for TA10 (Tourist Accommodation Ten). A small portion of the site, at the northwest corner, is zoned RM43 (Residential Multi-family Forty Three).
The permitted uses in the TA10 Zone are:
- hotel (with rooms on floors 8 and 9 allowed for residential use);
- indoor and outdoor recreation;
- auxiliary buildings and auxiliary uses; and
- employee housing.
The permitted uses in the RM43 Zone are:
- apartment provided that no dwelling unit in the apartment is occupied except as employee housing
- auxiliary building and uses; and
- park and playground
The owner, municipality and community are engaged in the early stages of a rezoning process, and have developed guiding principles and objectives for this project. Over the next several months the applicant will be working on alternative site design concepts that will be presented to the community for consideration and feedback. At this time the specific development proposal has not yet been determined.
In Whistler’s Official Community Plan the lands fall within the Core Commercial and Residential – Visitor Accommodation areas allowing for various uses on the site: mixed housing, commercial, restaurant, entertainment, parks and recreations, and institutional.
Rezoning is a legal change to the RMOW’s Zoning and Parking Bylaw 303, 2015. Specifically, it is the process for changing the zoning regulations of a property, such as land uses permitted, maximum density and heights, and minimum building setbacks from property lines.
The zoning of all properties must conform to the land use designation outlined by the RMOW’s Official Community Plan (OCP). If the proposed zoning is not consistent with the OCP, then it cannot be adopted without a corresponding amendment to the OCP.
The timing of a rezoning application is dependent on a number of factors, including the complexity of proposal, the specifics of the site, and alignment with the Official Community Plan and other municipal policy. This rezoning is expected to take approximately 18 months, and will include multiple steps, from the initial project introduction in March 2021 through the development of guiding principles, development of alternative design concepts, determining a preferred concept, and drafting bylaws and legal agreements.
Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 2199, 2018 was adopted by Council on June 23, 2020. It is the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s most important guiding document that sets long-term community direction.
The Official Community Plan (OCP) establishes policies that guide decisions on community planning and land use management for the RMOW over the next five to 10 years and beyond. The OCP also contains a renewed Community Vision for Whistler that articulates the high-level aspirations for our resort community, describing what we collectively seek to achieve now and over Whistler’s long-term future. The renewed Community Vision is included within this plan to reinforce the important role of the OCP in pursuing the vision, and to better integrate the vision with supporting municipal policies.
There are a number of natural values on the site that will be considered under municipal policies and agreements and also provincial regulations. These include the 20-metre highway tree buffer requirement, the existing amenity stream, which is a diversion of the Fitzsimmons River that enters the site after flowing through the Village North, a vegetated drainage swale, as well as other treed areas.
Guiding Principles were developed through the Phase 1 enhanced planning process, and adopted by Council on August 17, 2021. Guiding principle number 5 is to integrate and enhance nature. Ensuring alignment with this principle as well as adherence to policy objectives as set out in our Official Community Plan and other municipal policies and regulations will be an important aspect of the review of alternative site designs, and of the project moving forward.
Also, it is noted that the applicant is the owner of the large parcel of land at 4700 Blackcomb Way, east of the project site. This area is the large green space visible as you travel north on Blackcomb Way between Lorimer Road and Nancy Greene Drive. It is a flood plain and is comprised of forest and wetlands and will remain undeveloped.
A complex project of this size will be built out over several years after the rezoning process is finalized.
Community engagement and input opportunities will take place at key points in the process along with regular Council updates and decision points, as well as consultation with community stakeholders, advisory bodies and the First Nations. Following the RMOW’s Community Engagement Policy, project engagement is designed to be respectful, transparent, meaningful, informed and inclusive. All interested members of the public are invited to participate in community engagement opportunities and consultation channels offered in each project phase.
Bed units are a measure of accommodation capacity, linked to the size and type of dwelling units. It is a measure of development intended to reflect servicing and facility requirements for one person. Whistler’s accommodation capacity includes a range of dwelling unit types, which are allocated a specified number of bed units depending on the type and size of the dwelling unit. More information about Whistler’s accommodation capacity, and how bed units are calculated bed units can be found in the Official Community Plan.
The project site at 4500 Northlands has been allocated 837 bed units. The applicant has indicated that they do not wish to increase the number of bed units available at the site.