Whistler faces tax hike

Also in news briefs: CFOW seeks community input for Vital Signs report

Whistler could be facing a modest tax hike this year.

At the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s (RMOW) budget information meeting last Tuesday (Feb. 23), residents were informed that the preliminary budget includes a 1.5 per cent increase to property value taxes, a 1.3 per cent increase in water parcel taxes and a 1.2 per cent increase in sewer parcel taxes. There will be no change to solid waste user fees.

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In total, the RMOW is budgeting for 165 projects with a price of around $34.5 million. Some of the bigger initiatives include things like the Gateway Loop reconstruction at $2.4 million (with $900,000 allotted for 2017) as well as several water-related projects like the Olympic Reservoir reconstruction ($3.5 million), Alpine reservoir level control to add an altitude control valve at 21-Mile Creek ($426,000) and continuation of the Alpine Watermain Replacement ($6,024,000). Also on the long list: upgrades to Meadow Park Sports Centre — in particular replacing the roof — ($2,417,800), completing the Valley Trail to Nesters Crossing ($996,315) and building a pedestrian bridge to help hikers access the Train Wreck across the railway tracks ($176,000).

The draft budget will go to council at its March 15 meeting. To offer feedback email budget@whistler.ca. To see the full list of projects visit whistler.ca.

CFOW seeks input from community

As part of their Vital Signs project, the Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW) is holding a series of focus groups from March 1 to 17 to get community feedback on life in Whistler. Vital Signs are easy-to-read reports that offer a snapshot of how well a community is doing. They’re produced by community foundations across the country. The focus groups will help give the organization a better idea of how Whistler is doing in areas like arts and culture, getting around, safety, housing, work, environment and the gap between the rich and poor. In total, 11 community focus groups will take place. The first is on Tuesday (March 1) about getting around. It will take place from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. On Wednesday, the topic will be arts and culture during the same time. Thursday’s group will tackle safety and health and wellness will take place on Monday. They will all take place at Remax Sea to Sky Real Estate with refreshments and snacks. To see the complete list and learn about how to get involved visit www.whistlerfoundation.com/successes/vital-signs/whistlers-vital-signs-2016-focus-groups/.

Whistler gets fast-charging electric vehicle station

Whistler now has a direct current fast-charging station for electric vehicles.

The new station — one of 13 locations across B.C. that the province promised to fund in 2013 — is located in the municipal underground parking lot at the Whistler Conference Centre.

Currently, the station is one of 30 that were deployed by BC Hydro and funded by the BC Government through its Clean Energy Vehicle Program, as well as the federal government’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative.

“The DC fast charger is a great addition to Whistler’s existing electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” said Whistler’s acting Mayor John Grills, in a release. “The fast charger, which provides an 80 per cent charge in 20 to 30 minutes can give drivers more confidence to travel between communities.”

The charger at the conference centre is available for $0.35 per kWh with a minimum $2 charges. Charging time will be limited to 45 minutes. According to the RMOW, the charge will average 14 kWh for $5, taking a driver 75 to 130 km.

In total, Whistler has 11 electric vehicle charging stations with one at municipal hall, one at Meadow Park Sports Centre, one at the Public Works Yard and four level II chargers at the Whistler Conference Centre, in addition to the new fast charger.

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