A local Whistler businessman is proposing to develop a water sports park on a 16 acre property south of the resort community.
Claudio Iatan was in front of Whistler council last Tuesday (Jan. 22) during a committee of the whole meeting in order to give local politicians an introduction to his proposal.
Iatan said developing the Whistler Water Sports Park is still a ways away, but he wanted to familiarize council with the concept before he undergoes an expected rezoning process to allow the development to proceed.
We are at the initial stages right now it is a long process, he said, adding he also wanted to get a sense of whether the idea and business plan fit the image of Whistler elected officials have.
The water park would be comprised of a cable system, with six towers, that would pull participants around a man-made shallow lake. The lake would have an island in the middle, thus avoiding a wake, and would be 450 metres in circumference. The concept is meant to appeal to water sports enthusiasts who typically are towed behind a boat like wakeboarding, waterskiing and kneeboarding.
Iatan said it is fun for ages four to 60 plus and provides guaranteed controlled conditions on the water. The proposed Whistler site is located across from the Callaghan Valley entrance on Highway 99 and was cleared during construction of the roadway in the lead up to the Olympics.
The cable system would be run on an electric motor, he added, meaning no boats or engines in the water and a smaller environmental impact. There would also be a terrain park for advanced or professional users of the park and a smaller water course that is more linear in design and shorter in distance adjacent to it for beginners.
Iatan said wakeboarding was rated the fastest growing sport in 2010 and cable wakeboarding has been shortlisted for consideration to become an Olympic sport for the 2010 games.
Council was curious about the source for water for the six foot deep lake. Iatan said there is a high level of ground water on the site, which used to be a swamp, that could provide enough water or his other options are to build a well or use spring snow. The park would be operational from May to September and would provide a free shuttle from the Village.
He said prices would be similar to the bike park and the operation would include rentals and food and beverage components.