Whistler Creek

Chapter 13

AREA

All lands located within the Whistler Creek Development Permit Area, as shown on Schedule N.

DESIGNATION

Pursuant to section 488(1)(d) and (f) of the Local Government Act, these lands are hereby designated a development permit area for revitalization of an area in which a commercial use is permitted and the establishment of objectives for the form and character of commercial or multi-family residential development. 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.

JUSTIFICATION

Whistler Creek is the historical gateway to Whistler anchored by the Creekside ski base. The area has evolved into a mixed-use destination for visitors and residents, encompassing ski base area visitor accommodations and a village-scaled mixed commercial development with day skier parking facilities, known as Creekside Village. The area extends to include mixed commercial development on adjacent corners at the Highway 99 and Lake Placid Road intersections, and runs along Lake Placid Road to the Nita Lake Lodge and train station. Revitalization of remaining aging commercial and multi-family residential properties and further improvements to enhance the interconnectivity and pedestrian orientation of the area through high quality urban design, architecture and landscape architecture will reinforce and strengthen the character, economic viability and historic value of Whistler Creek.

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

  • (a) Interior renovations, except renovations that close in storefront windows with display walls and cabinets that impede views into a store.
  • (b) Routine property maintenance except that involving a change of building colour to a dissimilar colour or change of building material to a dissimilar material.
  • (c) New doors and windows in existing or new locations consistent with the form and character of existing doors and windows on the building.
  • (d) 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.
  • (e) 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.
  • (f) Signs authorized by permit under the Sign Bylaw.
  • (g) Emergency works, including tree cutting to remove an immediate danger.
  • (h) Minor site clearing for topographic or other surveys for site and servicing work.

The following guidelines apply within the Whistler Creek DPA:

SITE PLANNING

  • (a) Provide for a mixed commercial, residential, cultural and recreational character for both visitors and residents on a year-round basis.
  • (b) A pedestrian scale should be maintained by limiting commercial, retail and mixed-use facilities to three storeys, and restricting the larger building forms to designated anchor points.
  • (c) Minimize the overall mass appearance of any one building. Building height, massing and setbacks should ensure view corridors, view opportunities and solar access.
  • (d) Building siting and design should reflect the importance of separating vehicular and pedestrian circulation.
  • (e) Service bays and solid waste storage should be integrated with site and building design, contained within the building or suitably screened, and adequately sized to meet the needs of uses on site.
  • (f) Provide visible outdoor activity areas to reinforce social activity and interaction. All development should maximize sun penetration to pedestrian and outdoor activity areas.
  • (g) Pedestrian-oriented routes and street patterns through Whistler Creek should be created providing strong pedestrian routes from the train station to the Creekside ski base to integrate the area. The pedestrian system should provide accessible routes to an acceptable standard, and 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.
  • (i) All surface parking areas should be screened by a combination of landscaping and berms. Parking areas should provide adequate areas for snow storage and drainage.

SITE DESIGN

  • (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.
  • (b) Properties adjacent to Highway 99 should maintain a landscaped area adjacent to the Highway 99 right-of-way that contributes to the mountain character and complements the development.
  • (c) Landscaped areas with the capacity to infiltrate and accommodate stormwater, such as planting beds and grassed areas, are encouraged to reduce stormwater runoff from surface parking lots and rooftops.
  • (d) Streetscape elements should be located along pedestrian routes to include boulevard trees, lighting, planters and planting displaying seasonal variety and colour.
  • (e) All landscaping should be able to withstand Whistler’s harsh climatic conditions and should be designed, installed, and continuously maintained and managed to current British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects/British Columbia Landscape & Nursery Association (BCSLA/BCNTA) standards.
  • (f) Use plant species suited to the local climate, requiring minimal irrigation, which also provide dynamic seasonal interest.
  • (g) Incorporate a programmable automatic irrigation system to current Irrigation Industry Association of British Columbia (IIABC) and BCSLA/BCNTA standards, with the exception that an irrigation system may not be required for naturalized landscape areas. Provide drip irrigation for hanging planters. Irrigation lines should be concealed.
  • (h) Special features such as public art, fountains, water, exterior display kiosks, flags and banners are strongly encouraged provided they contain no commercial messaging.
  • (i) 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. Illumination levels should be of sufficient intensity to provide safe pedestrian passage and property identification but not overpower the nightscape. 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. Use warm lighting. Coloured lighting is restricted to seasonal festive lighting and public amenities.

BUILDING DESIGN

  • (a) Roof form should be of a sloping mountain character and be modulated to reduce the bulk of a building and to create more visual interest. Deep roof overhangs are encouraged. Small areas of flat roofs are acceptable. 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 from snow shed and ice accumulation. Roof colour should be generally neutral or muted to blend with the colours of the natural landscape.
  • (b) 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.
  • (c) Roof mounted equipment should be integrated with the overall roof design and adequately screened so it is concealed from pedestrian viewpoints.
  • (d) Building materials should be consistent with the mountain character, complementary to those of adjoining buildings and sufficiently durable and detailed to withstand Whistler’s harsh climate. Natural materials are preferred. Reflective or heavily tinted glass is discouraged. Large areas of glass and singular materials are discouraged. Building 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.
  • (e) Use variety, texture, scale and modulation in building façade design to create pedestrian interest. Blank walls on street-fronting building façades are discouraged.
  • (f) Building entrances should front the street and pedestrian routes and should be visible and identifiable from both. The ground level of a building should be as close as possible to street/pedestrian route grade.
  • (g) Building façades that front streets should be developed with active ground floors to ensure businesses are easily identifiable and to promote pedestrian-friendly streets.
  • (h) Design shop façades as individual entities to strengthen their character and interest to the pedestrian. Inviting entrances and clear window glazing offering visibility into a store are especially important to enhance indoor/outdoor connections. Interior renovations that close in storefront windows with display walls and cabinets that impede views into a store are discouraged.
  • (i) All stairs and ramps accessing buildings are encouraged to be roofed. Building access ramps steeper than 5 per cent slope should be heat traced if not roofed.

SIGNAGE

  • (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.
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