Chapter 13


All lands located within the Commercial/Industrial Development Permit Area, as shown on Schedule O.


Pursuant to section 488(1)(f) of the Local Government Act these lands are hereby designated a development permit area for the establishment of objectives for the form and character of commercial and mixed commercial/industrial development in the resort community outside of the Whistler Village and Whistler Creek core areas. These lands are also designated under section 485 of the Local Government Act as areas in which the municipality may require applicants to provide information on the form and character of the development.


The Commercial/Industrial DPA designation includes a diverse group of visitor accommodation, convenience commercial/industrial service commercial and industrial areas located throughout the municipality. Many of these locations are highly visible from Highway 99 or have businesses which attract visitors and residents to them. The intention is to encourage visually attractive commercial/industrial development that respects the site context and adjacent uses, and supports the role, function and character of the development.

Pursuant to section 488(4) of the Local Government Act, a development permit is not required in respect of the following:

  • (a) Routine property maintenance except that involving a change of building colour to a dissimilar colour or change of building material to a dissimilar material.
  • (b) New doors and windows in existing or new locations consistent with the form and character of existing doors and windows on the building.
  • (c) The following development activities provided there is no removal of trees:
    • (i) minor alterations to existing roads, paths, parking areas or driveways;
    • (ii) patio improvements and additions; and
    • (iii) installation of seasonal play or recreational equipment on existing yard/lawn areas, such as sandboxes or swing sets.
  • (d) Vegetation management related to wildfire hazard reduction when carried out in accordance with:
    • (i) a FireSmart® Assessment or fuel management prescription; and
    • (ii) a permit to remove vegetation issued under the Environmental Protection Bylaw.
  • (e) Signs authorized by permit under the Sign Bylaw.
  • (f) Emergency works, including tree cutting to remove an immediate danger.
  • (g) Minor site clearing for topographic or other surveys for site and servicing work.

The following guidelines apply within the Commercial/Industrial DPA:


The following guidelines apply to all areas shown on Schedule O.

These guidelines are not intended to be exhaustive; other imaginative design solutions are encouraged provided they meet the general design intent. Each design will be reviewed in the context of surrounding development, and the specific design objectives for the lands. In the case of mixed-use developments that are subject to guidelines for more than one type of land use (i.e., multi-family residential and commercial/industrial), the application of land use-specific guidelines to particular buildings and portions of buildings is a matter of discretion and the designer should apply the guidelines in a manner that results in an effective and coherent overall design.


  • (a) Position buildings on the site to create a defined street edge common to attractive commercial areas.
  • (b) Mass and scale of development should fit with the surrounding neighbourhood character and mountain resort community character.
  • (c) Minimize the overall mass appearance of any one building.


  • (a) Building articulation and innovative and interesting façade treatments, consistent with the resort community character, are strongly encouraged to create identifiable, attractive commercial/industrial areas. For example:
    • (i) Use of a variety of colours, architectural features and building materials. Large areas of glass and singular materials are strongly discouraged.
    • (ii) Use of building colours complementary to neighbouring buildings or identifiable with the area. Colours should be muted and consist of natural colours found in the Whistler setting. Limited use of complementary accent colours for focal points, doors and storefronts is encouraged.
    • (iii) Entrances to buildings should be clearly identifiable from sidewalks and other public areas.
    • (iv) Integrate balcony and terrace areas as appropriate to building uses.
  • (b) Building materials should be consistent with the mountain character, sufficiently durable to withstand Whistler’s harsh climate, and consistent with the intended use of the building.
  • (c) Roof form should be modulated and of a mountain character to reduce the apparent bulk of a building. Deep roof overhangs are encouraged. Whistler’s extreme freeze/thaw cycle and frequent large accumulations of snow are to be considered in design and material selection. Protect all pedestrian and vehicle access points from snow shed and ice accumulation.
  • (d) Roof colour should be generally neutral or muted in order to blend with the colours of the natural landscape.
  • (e) Roof designs which incorporate evolving technology and best practices for stormwater management and energy systems are encouraged within the context of other building design guidelines.
  • (f) Roof mounted equipment should be integrated with the overall roof design and adequately screened so it is concealed to the greatest extent possible from pedestrian viewpoints.
  • (g) Site and building design should address the functional needs of persons with disabilities, including those who are mobility, visually and hearing impaired, and/or have reduced strength or dexterity. Provide accessible routes from the street and parking to building entrances in all seasons, and at an appropriate width for expected pedestrian volumes. Consideration should be given to snow clearing and snow storage areas.
  • (h) Trail connections should be maintained and strengthened. The municipality may accept or encourage the dedication of public trails to promote pedestrian movement.


  • (a) Shared parking facilities and shared access points are encouraged to reduce the amount of curb-cuts, and allow for efficient traffic circulation and utilization of parking supply.
  • (b) Locate parking areas to minimize the visual impact of parking from the street. All surface parking areas should be screened by a combination of landscaping and berms.
  • (c) Provide adequate space to accommodate snow storage and drainage from parking areas.
  • (d) Locate all accessible parking spaces as close as possible to building entrances.
  • (e) Provide adequate bicycle parking facilities on-site and within buildings where appropriate.
  • (f) Service bays and solid waste storage should be integrated with site and building design, contained within the building or suitably screened from the street and public areas, and adequately sized to meet the needs of uses on site.


  • (a) Outdoor lighting should be used for safe pedestrian passage and property identification firstly. Seasonal festive lighting and limited architectural and landscape feature lighting is permitted.
  • (b) Illumination levels should be of sufficient intensity to provide safe pedestrian mobility but not overpower the nightscape. Use warm lighting. Coloured lighting is restricted to seasonal festive lighting and public amenities.
  • (c) Direct light downward by choosing the correct type of light fixture. Acceptable fixtures are full cut-off and fully shielded fixtures that shield the light source to reduce glare.


  • (a) Signage programs should be integrated in design and coordinated with the architectural features of the building and character of the area.
  • (b) The size, number and placement of signs pertaining to a development should ensure a hierarchy of signage. Within this hierarchy, there should be a balance between consistency and individual creativity. Consistency may come in the location, size and materials of signage and lighting to create a rhythm; creativity may come in the shape, colour, materials and individual mounting brackets to create interest and individual business expression. Signs that visually exhibit or express the character of their site or business enterprise to which they pertain are encouraged.
  • (c) All sign materials and mounting brackets should be high quality, textured and durable. Raised or recessed letters or symbols are strongly encouraged. Lighting fixtures should be quality, unobtrusive fixtures and related electrical conduits should be concealed behind fascia.
  • (d) Signs may support intense colour applications, but should be harmonious with the colour scheme of the building with which they are associated.
  • (e) All signage must also meet the requirements of the Sign Bylaw, except that the bylaw requirements may be varied to authorize signs that are demonstrated to better achieve the overall objectives of these form and character guidelines.


  • (a) Fencing is generally discouraged but may be used where necessary, along with vegetative planting, to limit public access to utilities or dangerous areas.
  • (b) Fence design should be appropriate to its function, location and context in the neighbourhood. Fences should be of a high quality, reflecting and extending the building details and integrated with landscaping to minimize their visual impact.
  • (c) Chain link fencing where utilized should be screened such that the fencing is not visible from pedestrian areas, a street or a highway.


  • (a) Properties adjacent to Highway 99 should maintain a 20 metre wide landscaped area adjacent to the Highway 99 right-of-way that contributes to the mountain character and complements the development.
  • (b) Wherever possible, mature trees should be preserved and integrated with new landscaping.
  • (c) Landscaping, tree plantings and screening methods should be used to:
    • (i) screen surface parking lots;
    • (ii) screen surface storage areas;
    • (iii) screen blank building façades; and
    • (iv) provide buffers between other adjacent land uses.
  • (d) Landscaped areas with the capacity to infiltrate and accommodate stormwater runoff, such as planting beds and grassed areas, are encouraged to reduce stormwater runoff from surface parking lots and rooftops.
  • (e) Landscaping and screening elements should be able to withstand Whistler’s harsh climatic conditions and be coordinated with adjacent landscaping.
  • (f) Use plant species suited to the local climate, requiring minimal irrigation, which also provide dynamic seasonal interest.

The following guidelines apply to all development on convenience commercial lands referenced in this OCP.


  • (a) Developments should reinforce the image of a neighbourhood-oriented gathering place.
  • (b) Development should be designed to reinforce its relationship with the surrounding neighbourhood and integrate with pedestrian and vehicular circulation routes, open spaces, and other public amenities.
  • (c) Form of development should typically be low-rise buildings in scale with surrounding development, with pedestrian scale building façades, articulated to enhance visual interest.
  • (d) Upper storeys of buildings should be set back where appropriate to provide pedestrian scale and allow sunlight access to the street.
  • (e) Developments should provide useable open space, street furnishings and amenities, and landmark features to create opportunities for social activity and to enhance the character and reinforce the role of the convenience commercial development with a neighbourhood focus.
  • (f) Building façades that front streets should be developed with active ground floors to ensure businesses are easily identifiable and to promote pedestrian-friendly streets.

The following guidelines apply to all development on industrial service commercial lands referenced in this OCP. The design of industrial service commercial developments should reinforce their role in providing a general-purpose business district for the resort community.


  • (a) Buildings should be developed with ‘active’ ground floors facing the street frontage, to create a positive public image, ensure businesses are easily identifiable, and promote more pedestrian-friendly gathering spaces. For example:
    • (i) Commercial uses and other public uses, located at-grade and along building façades that front streets, should use clear window glazing.
    • (ii) If additional commercial uses and other public areas are above the ground floor, easily identifiable, at-grade entrances should be used to locate these areas.
    • (iii) Blank walls on street-fronting building façades are discouraged.
  • (b) For developments that also have a multi-family residential component:
    • (i) Separate access to residential and commercial parking and loading.
    • (ii) Give special consideration to the location and illumination level of exterior lighting to avoid light pollution on the residential component of the development.
    • (iii) Provide usable outdoor space for every living unit.


  • (a) Landscaping is a major, integral part of a project design and should be coordinated to create a pleasing composition and cohesive look, define and enliven public spaces, moderate building massing, maximize views into stores, emphasize and frame important building features and natural focal points, and provide shade for comfort.