The Whistler Nordics Ski Club is concerned with the conditions of the cross-country trails at Lost Lake, Nicklaus North and Chateau golf courses, which are maintained by the municipality.
Speaking on behalf of Whistler Nordics, Craig Mackenzie addressed council at Tuesday's (Feb. 19) meeting to ask the municipality to consider adjusting grooming staff's schedules so that trail conditions can improve.
“What's been happening because of the staffing scheduling that has taken place early in the season, (is) the trails have been groomed very late in the morning prior to opening, so the trails have not frozen and they've lost their integrity,” he said. “If anything does go wrong, they end up grooming after 8 o'clock in the morning when the trails are open, and one of the things that happens is that the online grooming report will say that everything is open, but the grooming hasn't finished and the trails aren't open.”
The municipality cut trail maintenance service at Lost Lake in 2011, prior to the current council's election, and halted grooming entirely at Nicklaus North until the cross-country community lobbied the RMOW to resume service.
Previously, the municipality filled three grooming positions, which meant staff could “work out every night when the best time was to get the groomers on the snow, so that the snow would set up and get that hardness to it that would take the use all day,” said Mackenzie. He said that there have been two groomers for the bulk of this season and recommended the municipality consider having its trail maintenance budget in place before the winter, “rather than putting it into two different budget years, which I'm sure causes issues for staffing.”
The municipality's Chief Administrative Officer Mike Furey thanked Mackenzie for his input and said that RMOW staff would take his suggestions into consideration.
Audain Art Museum site set for rezoning
The highly-anticipated Audain Art Museum is one step closer to construction after council gave first and second reading to the rezoning of its proposed site between Day Lots 3 and 4.
The current zoning on the 1.22-hectare parcel of municipally-owned land does not allow for a museum facility. If approved, the new zoning will be a site-specific institutional zone allowing for a museum, indoor and outdoor assembly areas, a small residential unit for an onsite caretaker, a retail space auxiliary to museum use and a food and beverage preparation and storage area on the premises.
A maximum gross floor area has been set for the residential unit and the retail space, which is prohibited from selling original artworks to avoid competition with other local galleries. The zoning also sets a maximum total gross floor area for the entire museum at 4,000 square metres. A maximum of 10 parking spaces will be allowed onsite, a determination based on the amount of available parking nearby and a 2006 Bunt & Associates Parking Report.
Design plans for the facility from Vancouver firm Patkau Architects was presented at a public open house on Jan. 30 to positive response.
The museum will house real estate magnate Michael Audain's extensive collection of West Coast Aboriginal art and works by renowned B.C. painters like Emily Carr and E.J. Hughes.
A public hearing on the site's rezoning is scheduled for March 5* at 6 p.m. The facility's construction is expected to begin in the spring.
*Correction: The original article stated that the Audain Art Museum public hearing was scheduled for March 6. It will be held March 5 at 6 p.m. during the regularly scheduled council meeting at Millennium Place.