Dear Mayor and Council,
Re: 2077 Garibaldi Way re-zoning application
As Whistler residents and property owners have become aware of the captioned re-zoning application heated debate has developed throughout the community. It is not difficult to understand that the magnitude and scale of this development will have a great negative impact upon the surrounding neighborhoods. It also has the potential to change the future of the re-zoning process and, ultimately, the sustainability of Whistler as a welcoming community for both visitors and residents. Whistler residents are proud of our little town and especially proud that resort communities all over the world hold us up as a model regarding growth management and quality of life! This is not just one neighborhood fighting to prevent approval of this application, it is the community of Whistler raising concerns about the future of the re-zoning process and development.
We would like to join the opposition to this development proposal and raise some strong concerns:
- SIZE AND DENSITY OF THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT – from current single family dwelling with 6 bed units, to multifamily zoning, three 4 storey apartment style buildings, 74 apartments, 222 bed units and 122 parking stalls. We are not aware of any development in residential areas with similar density.
Such development would drastically change the existing character of the family friendly Nordic area which is mostly comprised of single family homes, duplexes/triplex style homes and town home developments. Single family homes are predominantly 2 storey buildings and town homes are 3 levels or less. Increased density would affect noise and traffic levels creating an undesirable impact, including loss of quiet enjoyment and the loss of privacy. These factors are what have contributed to making the Nordic area a desirable place to live and own property.
- Additional pressure to already difficult TRAFFIC PATTERNS AND PARKING – we are already noticing more parking on the streets and extremely difficult access to the HWY when turning south. Our understanding is that council previously denied development of additional day skiers’ parking on the timing flats for these reasons.
- The Developer suggested that this development proposal was discussed with one or two of the largest employers in Whistler. Was the same consultation offered to small business owners? Will they have the same benefit as larger employers? We cannot see how this re-zoning can be beneficial to a business that is not in a position to commit to years of rental and to subsidize their employees in the same manner as larger businesses. Proposed rental rates are not affordable and much higher than WHA rates offered.
- WHA INVOLVMENT IS NOT PART OF THIS DEVELOPMENT- The majority of the employee restricted accommodation is currently developed and monitored by WHA. Part of the WHA mandate is to keep employees’ interest in the forefront and make things fair to all in need of affordable accommodation. We are not aware of any long term rules in place for private employee restricted developments in Whistler. Did Council and staff explore all other options to provide affordable housing managed and controlled by WHA? Are there any other properties owned by the Municipality that would better suit a development of this scale and density?
- ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS were ignored in the process of development on this property. It is now a distressed piece of land due to the owner’s previous actions. The owner decided to clear cut the entire property years before submitting a re-zoning application. Did he acknowledge and properly manage the wet lands that are part of this land? Were any environmental assessments and recommendations done?
These are the most obvious and immediate concerns but we are certain that many more will be discussed in the future.
We would like to finish with a quote from the OCP that was discussed in 2011. There are many similar notes through adopted bylaws, rules and regulations that read in a similar fashion and support our objection to this development.
“Through the active application of balanced resort capacity and this OCP, the RMOW will work with resort partners, stakeholders and the local community to effect and create sustained prosperity. That is, the state of being not only economically successful, but being happy, healthy, with entirety being viable for long term. To sustain prosperity means we maintain an essentially steady-state condition, where economic well being is maintained without requiring continued land development and physical growth that would ultimately compromise the unique attributes which make up social, cultural and natural environments that are the cornerstone of Whistler’s community character and resort success-the Whistler experience.”