Existing traffic, safety, and parking problems will be exacerbated

Traffic

 

The section of Highway 99 between the Village and Creekside is already heavily congested for a good part of each day, and vehicles associated with this proposed 222 bed-unit development will add substantially to that congestion.

As traffic has increased on this section of Highway 99, it has become increasingly difficult, and dangerous, to access Highway 99 from the Nordic/Highland areas, for both vehicles and pedestrians.  Adding so many more vehicles to these neighbourhoods will increase risks for both local and through traffic, and well as the pedestrians from Watson Way who have to cross the highway here to access public transport.

We believe that the traffic study will show a significant negative impact will result from this development.

It is our understanding that Council previously denied development of additional day skier parking on the Olympic timing flats in Nordic for the same reason. (See the Pique coverage and the local petition.)

 

Parking 

 

It is entirely possible that the proposed number of parking spaces will not accommodate all the cars, trucks, and recreational vehicles that belong to the tenants.  This will worsen the local parking problems, especially in winter, and it may also create additional snow clearing issues on the municipal roadways, and increase the danger for pedestrians.

 

 

Reasons for Opposition

The benefits for the developer far outweigh those for the community

 

G.D. Maxwell made an excellent point in the Pique:

the RMOW shouldn’t be enriching private developers. It should stick to the model developed over the past few decades that is the envy of every city, town and municipality that’s studied it: The provision of affordable, targeted, fair, employee-restricted housing delivered and managed through WHA.

 

 

Reasons for Opposition

The proposed development is not appropriate for the neighbourhood

The rezoning application calls for an increase in bed units from 6 to 222, an increase of 3700%. The proposed development is completely out of scale with the surrounding neighbourhood.

2077 Garibaldi Way is a 2.4 acre lot currently zoned as RSE1 (Single Family Residential Estate One), allowing for the development of one large (465 m²) detached dwelling. This equates to 6 bed units. The lot is accessible only from the Garibaldi Way cul-de-sac (Aspen Drive is private strata land.)

The Garibaldi Way cul-de-sac is currently made up of 9 single-family homes and a 7-unit townhouse complex. It is a quiet cul-de-sac, where kids can play.

The proposed development consists of three 4-storey apartment buildings, with a total of 74 units. This equates to 222 bed units. The proposal allows for 122 parking stalls.

Assuming all parking stalls are utilized, there will be an increase in traffic of at least 300% in the cul-de-sac.

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Reasons for Opposition

The proposed apartments will be affordable for less than 10% of Whistler’s population

According to Whistler’s Vital Signs 2016:

The average monthly market rental rate for a 2-bedroom unit in 2015 was $2,243. The Whistler Housing Authority estimates that approximately 10% of Whistler individuals earn enough income to afford to rent a 2-bedroom unit. The minimum income required to support this (at 32% of income dedicated to housing costs) is $86,925. The WHA uses Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey after-tax incomes and the average monthly market rental rates advertised in Whistler by unit type, to determine the percentage of Whistler’s working individuals, aged 15 and over, that meet the required income for renting an unrestricted rental unit in Whistler.

The proposed rental rate for a 2-bedroom unit at  2077 Garibaldi Way is $2,475, which would require a minimum income of $92,813 for the apartments to be considered affordable. For a 1-bedroom, an individual would need to earn at least $74,025.

The median income for Whistler in 2015 was $31,330 (RMOW Community Monitoring.)

 

Rental Rates2077 Garibaldi WayWhistler Housing Authority2077 Garibaldi Way vs WHAMarket Rates2077 Garibaldi Way vs Market
1-Bedroom$1974$940-$109081-110% higher$169616% higher
2-Bedroom$2475$1380-$149565-79% higher$2468<1% higher
3-BedroomN/A$1560-$1980N/A$3712N/A

 

As G.D. Maxwell pointed out in the Pique, “it gets worse”:

Annual increases in rental rates will be tied to the maximum allowable each year under the guidelines of the BC Residential Tenancy Office. Over the past number of years that rate increase has been four per cent per year. Assuming no change, in five years rents on one-bedroom units will rise to $2,400/month, $2,829/month for one-bedroom plus den, and $3,011/month for a two-bedroom.

Again, by comparison, WHA pegs its rent increases to the rate of inflation… or less. Its rents have been going up around 1.5 per cent and will likely go up by two per cent this year.

At the proposed rents in year one, employees would need to be making between $74,653 and $93,600 per year for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, respectively, to stay within 33 per cent of their gross. After five years, those incomes would need to increase to between $87,334 and $109,135 to stay within guidelines. That is a 17 per cent increase in income over five years. Let’s see a show of hands; everyone who has enjoyed that size increase in income over the last five years?

 

 

Reasons for Opposition

The proposed development does not meet the requirements of Whistler’s Official Community Plan

The Official Community Plan (OCP) says (emphasis ours):

4.13 EVALUATING PROPOSALS FOR OCP AND ZONING AMENDMENTS (Bylaw 1938, 2010)

Proposed amendments to the OCP or Zoning Bylaw, especially those which would significantly increase the accommodation capacity within the existing Municipal boundaries, will only be approved under very special circumstances, and must comply with the criteria under this section. These criteria have been prepared to ensure that the goals and objectives of the Official Community Plan and the Comprehensive Development Plan are satisfied. Proposed OCP amendments or rezonings that are of a minor or technical nature must conform with this Part, but it is assumed that the evaluations can be brief and quickly conducted.

4.13.2:

Proposed OCP amendments or rezonings that increase the bed-unit capacity of the Municipality will only be considered if the development:

a) provides clear and substantial benefits to the community and the resort;

b) is supported by the community, in the opinion of Council;

c) will not cause unacceptable impacts on the community, resort, or environment; and

d) meets all applicable criteria set out in the Official Community Plan.

The Municipality will annually review its growth management policies and determine what kinds and amounts of additional development, if any, are appropriate, necessary, or regarded as likely to yield benefits to the community and the resort. If this annual review identifies kinds of development that should be considered, the Municipality will consider amending the Official Community Plan.

In 4.13.7 :

  • any development which proposes resident housing targeted at short term residents should comply with the following: the site be within close proximity to Whistler Village or Whistler Creek; the development provide rental accommodation which is proven to be affordable to short term residents; that the rental units not be tied to an employment situation; that development favour 2 bedroom apartment or townhouse units, with lesser 1, and 3 bedroom and studio apartment or townhouse units; be full apartments not dormitories; provide suitable private storage and parking space; and
  •  any development which proposes employee housing which is targeted at semi-permanent or permanent residents should comply with the following: be within close proximity to existing open space, parks and community facilities; provide ownership opportunities for first time home buyers; comprise a mix of townhouse, duplex and single family units; be neighbourhood developments which provide neighbourhood amenities; integrate into existing residential neighbourhoods with similar building form; provide suitable private storage space and parking space; and be proven affordable to semi-permanent and permanent residents.

 

This particular rezoning application fails to meet multiple criteria laid out in the OCP and should not be given any further consideration until those criteria are met.

 

 

Reasons for Opposition