Library permit still outstanding

Occupancy not granted for lower level, despite use of elevator, parking

More than four years after the doors of the Whistler Public Library first opened to the community, The Question has learned there is still no occupancy permit in place for the facility's lower level.

Though the library itself is contained on the main floor, which has an occupancy permit, the lower level includes a public parking area and elevator vestibule -both of which are in use despite the lack of permit.

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According to a municipal spokesperson, the lower level also includes the end-of-trip shower facility -which was designed for use by cycling commuters but has never opened - plus storage, garbage and recycling areas and mechanical and electrical rooms.

Several outstanding "deficiencies," such as uncertainty about the future of adjacent portable buildings located behind the library, have led to delays in a permit being secured for the entire library building, the spokesperson wrote in an email to The Question.

Work is underway to address the deficiencies and municipal staff expect that the occupancy permit will be achieved this summer.

"Municipal staff do not have any safety concerns with the lower parking level," the spokesperson wrote.

Under the RMOW's building bylaw, an occupancy permit may be issued for part of a building, and the areas that have occupancy can be used. Unless all required paperwork is submitted, a permit for the lower level cannot be issued.

Since the $11 million library opened in January 2008, "the RMOW has exercised considerable effort to work with the architect (responsible for the sign-off of project work, plans and schedules)," the spokesperson wrote.

When asked why the public elevator area is in use on the lower level without the occupancy permit in place, the spokesperson wrote that elevators are regulated by the B.C. Safety Authority and the RMOW was issued an operating permit for the library elevator.

While some engineering approvals and information that were outstanding have now been completed, it seems the major delays have stemmed from the portable trailers located behind the library.

In the original development permit for the library project, it was stipulated that the portables, one of which was renovated to house the existing Whistler Museum facility, were to be relocated elsewhere to avoid "a building-to-building proximity issue," the spokesperson wrote.

However, before the Olympics in 2010 a decision was made to allow the museum building to remain. The future of the other structures was uncertain, with several community groups seeking to use the space post-Games.

Though consideration was given to those requests to use the portables, it was finally decided in fall 2011 to remove them, the spokesperson said. The removal is now nearing completion and is the final deficiency to be addressed before the architect can sign-off on the complete package.

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