PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

Planning Objectives

The development of an Olympic and Paralympic Village that would also serve as a permanent housing legacy for the community had four principle objectives:

  • Establish a land bank. The signing of the Community Land Bank Agreement between the RMOW and the Province of BC provides a Crown grant of 135.79 hectares to the RMOW to support resident housing. The Athletes’ Village occupies approximately 37 hectares of the land grant leaving the balance of the land available in the future for further development at the discretion of the RMOW.
  • Minimize financial risk to the taxpayers of Whistler. Public consultation and care was taken to determine the size, the price, the schedule and the sales probability of the housing units. The goal was to breakeven, minimizing any financial risk to the Municipality.
  • Complete the housing to meet IOC/VANOC requirements for turnover to VANOC in November 2009. Under the terms of the Venue Agreement, VANOC was to take possession of the Athletes’ Village for its exclusive use commencing November 1st 2009 through to May 31st 2010. As of November 1st. all buildings and improvements were completed, meeting VANOC requirements and IOC standards.
  • Retrofit and refurbish the housing units for turnover to the purchasers in the fall of 2010. In order to minimize financial risk, the housing had to meet the Games requirements and standards, and, a product that would be saleable to employees of the Whistler community at reasonable prices.

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Guiding Principles & Success Factors

The document Whistler 2020 – Moving Toward A Sustainable Future was adopted by RMOW Council in December 2004, and addresses what Whistler aspires to be in 2020 and strategies for realizing the 2020 vision. This document was a guide for the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation in the planning and delivering of a master plan.

These Guiding Principles included:

  • Being proactive in integrating sustainability considerations throughout the planning and staging of the Games
  • Being ethical and transparent and engaging in open and timely communication
  • Ensuring that the community is vibrant and attractive, and that there is a sense of community pride and spirit
  • Ensuring that the community is affordable and livable to both permanent and short-term residents and employees
  • Providing programs and opportunities to meet the diverse social, spiritual and physical health needs of groups and individuals within the community
  • Integrating land use and infrastructure systems to protect biodiversity and meet basic needs
  • Respecting Whistler’s character and values

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Master Planning Process

Whistler 2020 Development Corporation on behalf of the Resort Municipality of Whistler directed the master planning process for a new Whistler neighbourhood at the Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Village project site.

This planning process consisted of four inter-related phases. The process and schedule had to account for the development of a plan that met the requirements of VANOC and the IOC during the Games as well as a legacy plan for the community following the Games.

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Site Analysis

The site analysis was completed as part of the master planning process. Landform mapping identified a number of landforms on the site, including a promontory, terrace, draw, bowl, rise, and a number of knolls. The surrounding mountains provided a number of opportunities for spectacular views, which were assessed in the Aspect Analysis mapping.

In addition to the Cheakamus River, there are a number of wetlands on the site were identified that are provide habitat, water source and breeding areas. These wetlands, located close to the Cheakamus River and in low lying areas elsewhere on the site, required environmental setbacks. The municipal landfill was located adjacent to the project site, along the north-western boundary. Cleanup and remediation of the landfill was undertaken by the RMOW to ensure no environmental issues would arise during or following the Games.

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