26 Oct Rezoning application promises big changes to Nita Lake | Wh…
I am concerned that a major change to the visual landscape of our municipality is coming, with little-to-no notice for residents as many readers may not have seen the notices about the Public Open House concerning a proposed new rezoning application RZ1157, 5298 Alta Lake Road. However, G.D. Maxwell once again is on top of another controversial development and calls it exactly as it actually is (Oct. 17, Pique “Misguided proposal not what Whistler needs”). This development promises to not only bring added traffic to Alta Lake Road and at the intersection of Highway 99, but also radically change the appearance of one of our most beloved and pristine lakefronts.
What GD did not point out is that the rezoning back in 2002 was for the purposes of a site-sensitive eco-lodge with small cabins, always with the intention of maintaining the existing natural setting and providing space for an artists-in-residence program that included housing for the artists.
Now, a new developer, the Empire Club, has applied to once again rezone this site, with a project very different from the original proposal. It appears that there was not a lot of opposition to the rezoning back then as it seemed to fit the lakeside site well, but it was not developed.
It is abundantly clear that the current rezoning proposal is inconsistent in terms of density and visual impact with the neighbourhoods currently on the shores of Nita Lake. In order to build this development in its proposed form, there will need to be substantial clear-cutting of this very sensitive lakeside area. It’s unclear if the developer could be trusted to preserve the trees on Nita Lake or to provide a long-term tree management plan.
It is unknown if any of the trees would survive the site preparation for building. No other lake in Whistler has the type of density and market rental housing currently proposed. Why Nita Lake? Does Whistler need more nightly tourist accommodation away from the core tourist areas? Should nightly tourist accommodation be mixed with residential housing and subject the existing Whistler residents to increased noise and traffic that is not found in other residential neighbourhoods? Is this consistent with the new OCP?
Let’s be clear, the developer requires rezoning to build on this land as the current zoning can no longer be built. Now with the new employee housing guidelines, it seems they are really trying to cash in at the expense of all other Whistler residents. If new rezoning is required to build on this property, Whistler residents should insist that the mayor and council ensure it is the right type of zoning for this parcel of land and is in the best interest of all Whistler residents, not just the developer.
All residents of Whistler should be very concerned about the long-term permanent effects of this development on the lake and the impact and precedent it may set for other lakeside development.
Please come to the Public Open House Rezoning Application RZ1157 on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Whistler Athletes’ Centre.
Yes, GD, the timing and location sucks. It is important for both long-standing and new residents and taxpayers of Whistler to have our views and voices heard and respected by council, the municipality and indeed by any developer who intends to develop around Nita Lake.
Cheryl Green // Whistler
(Editor’s note: The proponents have a second open house on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Harmony Room at the Whistler Conference Centre.)