Tag Archives: Resort Centre

Whistler’s Answers: April 29, 1982

In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer).  Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1982.  Please note, all names/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.

Some context for this week’s question: A major recession hit North America in late 1981, with interest rates reaching up to 20%. While some buildings in the Whistler Village were completed, much of the first phase was still under construction. Construction of the Resort Centre (known today as the Conference Centre) began in March 1980 and was still ongoing in 1982. The original plans included an Olympic-sized ice rink, swimming pool, whirlpool, saunas, racquetball courts, squash court, restaurant and more. The proposed budget (not including operating costs) was in the $5.5 to 5.8 million range. In January 1983 the provincial government formed Whistler Land Co. Developments, a Crown corporation chaired by Chester Johnson to take over the liabilities and assets of the Whistler Village Land Company. Under Johnson the Resort Centre was reconstructed as a conference centre without the extra recreational facilities and construction was completed by 1986. You can find more information about the Resort Centre here.

Question: Would you be adverse to having any portion of your property taxes go towards finishing the Resort Centre?

Jim Crichton – Carpenter – Alpine Meadows

Yes. The original plan for the convention centre stipulated that the taxpayer was not to pay for it. Think it will be years before that thing is finished and I don’t want to be subsidizing it.

They should get a private developer to take it over and run it.

Barry Johnston – Social Psychologist – Alpine Meadows

I think everyone would say it depends on how much extra we have to pay in taxes.

If they did use our tax money, the Land Company would have to make a much closer accounting to property owners on how the money was spent.

David Kirk – Whistler Village Sports/Whistler Creek Ski Shop – Alta Vista

I would like to see a referendum held in order that some direction – whether it be positive or negative – be given the Land Company and municipality on this issue.

Charlie Doyle – Commercial Artist – MDC

I would be against having any portion of my property taxes going for that purpose.

It was a mistake on the part of the Land Company in estimating costs. Why should we bail them out? They certainly don’t bail out my mistakes.

The centre means something to them only as developers. If they were really interested in the community, they wouldn’t have made it such an epic of a building.

If we were given some benefit, maybe we should consider it. But we’ll end up paying both as taxpayers and as customers once the centre’s finished.

Mark Sadler – Contractor/Developer – Multiple commercial & residential property owner

That’s a difficult question to answer. My basic answer is yes, I would be against having any portion of my residential taxes used to finance the sports centre.

I would like to see the major users – namely commercial establishments which benefit the most – pay towards the completion of it, and that statement comes from me as a property owner in the Town Centre.

Why should we taxpayers be responsible for problems incurred by poor management, inflation and other factors?

Drew Meredith – Real Estate Agent – Alta Vista

No, not at all. I’ve been waiting a long time to see that building finished and I’d be willing to put out out of my own pocket for it.

The addition of a full ice area and squash and racquet-ball courts will be a definite asset to the community. It’s not going to be any cheaper in the future.

I wouldn’t be against having my taxes go towards it, providing the Land Company repays the municipality in the future when the real estate market perks up again.

Developing Whistler’s Swing

In August 1983, Arnold Palmer opened the first golf course in Canada designed by him.  Palmer posed with buckets of golf balls and was photographed mid-swing surrounded by a crowd of people.  This was the official opening of the Whistler Golf Course as we know it today.

The Whistler Golf Course got its start in 1973, when Bob Bishop and Bernie Brown, the developers of Whistler Cay, began developing an executive-sized nine-hole course near Beaver Lane.  When completed just a few years later Whistler residents and visitors were able to play a round without driving to Squamish (the Squamish Valley course was the first golf course to open in the corridor in 1967).  A temporary pro shop at the new course carried a full range of rental clubs, balls, tees, gloves and other accessories, including caps emblazoned with the course crest: a beaver.  According to Bishop and Brown, the beavers were “the original course engineers who created this land.”

Work on the golf course expansion underway, as seen from the bluffs above.  Whistler Question Collection, 1980.

By 1977 the course had started to host small informal tournaments, both in summer and in winter.  For the course’s first official opening Bishop had planned to host a New Year’s Day tournament.  The plan was for golfers to wear either skis or snowshoes and use golf clubs to hit softballs towards garbage can targets.  Though we do not know if this particular tournament went ahead, there are reports of similar tournaments being played in 1975 to raise money for Whistler Search and Rescue.  Golfers were on skis, and hit red tennis balls into buckets sunk in the snow to make holes.

In 1977 Bishop and Brown announced their plans to expand the small nine-hole course to a full-size 18-hole course.  In order to develop Whistler Cay Heights, they were required to provide a community amenity and an 18-hole golf course was part of the newly formed Resort Municipality of Whistler’s community plan. That summer they began the preliminary clearing, draining, surveying and planning for the course, which was to be designed by Gordie McKay, the golf professional and superintendent in Squamish.  Because of a short construction season, they estimated it would be at least years before the full course would be finished.  In the meantime, the smaller course would be improved and kept open.

Chauffeur Chris Speedie and assistant Rod McLeod take the golf course refreshment buggy around the course during a tournament.  Whistler Question Collection, 1980.

The expansion of the golf course became a key part in the plans for the development of a Town Centre and the transformation of Whistler into a year-round destination resort and was taken over by the Whistler Village Land Company (WVLC) by 1979.  Arnold Palmer chose to make the golf course the site of his first Canadian design, with Gordie McKay staying on as the Canadian consultant for the course.  The clubhouse and shop, along with a hockey rink and swimming pool, were to be incorporated into the planned Resort Centre (today the Whistler Conference Centre).  In September 1981 the golf course received its final inspection by Palmer and looked to be on track to open for the summer of 1982.

Arnold Palmer shows his fine follow through after sending a shot nearly 200 yards with a 9 iron. Palmer stresses proper rhythm rather than pure power to achieve those awesome shots. What a way to open a golf course! Whistler Question Collection, 1983.

This opening was delayed when Whistler, along with the rest of North America, was hit by a major recession in late 1981.  Real estate sales fell and interest rates climbed above 20%, leaving the WVLC with debts of almost $8 million, liabilities around $30 million, and land assets that nobody wanted to buy.  Whistler Land Co. Developments, a Crown corporation, was formed in January 1983 to take over the liabilities and assets of the WVLC, including the golf course.

Under the Whistler Land Co., the full Whistler Golf Course was completed.  It was ready for Palmer’s opening round in August 1983.

This Week In Photos: September 13

A lot has happened this week in Whistler’s history – this week in 1982 has almost 400 photographs.  If you’re interested in seeing more the Fall Festival and other events from that year, check out the whole album here.

1979

Potholes galore! The entrance to Alpine Meadows as it appeared last Sunday.

Typical Town Centre scene last week – the rain keeps coming and the mud gets deeper!

Swinging in the rain! A foursome tees off at the first hole in the Bob Parsons Memorial Golf Tournament.

The bottom terminal of Blackcomb lift #2 takes shape.

The front entrance of the new Fortress Mountain Blackcomb base facility.

1980

Crowds begin to mass for the Town Centre rally organized by the Whistler Contractors Association. Over 300 people took part in the rally and march through Town Centre.

Crowd marches past the still uncompleted Resort Centre.

Not a skateboard ramp but the Olive Chair’s newly-paved loading and discharge platform at the Gondola Station.

NO PARKING! Itinerant pickup decides to use the new Olive Chair ramp as a parking spot.

Bob Wick points out golf course features to a group of appreciative horticulture students from Langley.

Recently created public access to Alta Lake in the Alta Vista subdivision. This area is unknown to many Whistler visitors and residents.

1982

Whistler Mayor Pat Carleton and Howe Sound MLA Allan Williams take in some of the scenery in Lost Lake Park. They were en route to the September 11th official opening of the 500-acre recreational site.

Myrtle Philip cuts the opening ribbon held by Health Care Society Chairman Rollie Horsey, September 12.

One of the vehicles which helped wipe out both signals at the Green River railway crossing – a 1979 Ferrari which was driven by Brent Freitag of Vancouver.

Two waiters roll through the Waiter/Waitress Race during Fall Festival fun.

Shasta Trampoline Club members soared as part of a festival demonstration.

Edelweiss Dance Group from Victoria chopped. It was all going on at Whistler’s second Fall Festival.

They also danced in Village Square.

Kids anticipated winter in the snowflake drawing contest.

Fun was also had in the bouncy castle.

Delta Duck and Willie Whistler tee up.

A fitness class gets everyone moving in Mountain Square.

Gumboot Lollipop gets a helping hand from a couple of “volunteers”.

Terry Boston lauded the lowly duck.

Tapley’s A’s player streaks over home plate as a Pemberton Zipperhead fumbles the ball. Tapley’s went on to win the game but came in fourth in the tournament.

1983

The Rangerettes Baton Corps of North Vancouver goes through its clown routine at Sunday’s Fall Festival. Other entertainers at the weekend event included folk and can-can dancers and live music in Village Square. Despite the wet conditions about 1,500 people were attracted to the end-of-summer extravaganza.

Whistler’s new Arabesque tent protects dancers and drinkers from the rain.

Kids had their bit of fun riding the giant merry-go-round set up in the VIP parking lot.

And at the bouncy dome outside the service building.

Tim Cleave from the New Westminster-based Shasta Trampoline levitates over Whistler Mountain.

Workmen from B & O Blacktop put the finishing touches on the Valley Drive bridge that was washed out in 1981.

Ross Smith, manager of Stoney’s Restaurant, does his Hamlet imitation while teaching would-be bartenders the finer points of slinging gin. The three-week course takes place in Mountain House Cabaret.

Instant curbs ooze out of Alpine Paving’s machine along Mountain Lane by Delta Mountain Inn. Paving is expected to be finished next week.

Parks employee Ted Pryce-Jones completes the new suspension bridge on Callaghan River near the Cheakamus River junction. Parks Planner Tom Barratt says the $12,000 bridge should be ready to cross this week.

Alpha Lake Park officially opened to the public.

1984

The summer students hired by Whistler Resort Association said goodbye last week following a season-long series of performances in Whistler Village. (L to R) Rob McQuaid, Mike McQuaid, Karen Overgaard and Rick Johnson were four of the university and community college students who helped create a festive atmosphere in the village this summer. WRA summer students who were absent include Kimberley Paulley, David Lyford, Paul Ciechanowski, Kristine Keiland and Susan Mathew.

Peter Oblander, winner of the Rotary Club of Whistler lottery for a lifetime dual mountain pass, was presented his prize Friday by Lorne Borgal, president of Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation, and Hugh Smythe, president of Blackcomb Skiiing Enterprises. Oberlander, a University of British Columbia professor and director of human settlement for the United Nations, spoke to Rotarians at their weekly luncheon, on his own experiences in this area since he first visited Diamond Head at Easter, 1950. Oberlander recalled the trip by water to Britannia Beach from Horseshoe Bay, and from Britannia to Squamish by jeep. In the 1960s, Oberlander assisted Keg owner George Tidal in laying out his restaurant on Alta Lake. Later, Oberlander helped plan what was to be the Olympic townsite, and has since then been a frequent and enthusiastic weekender here. Winning the lifetime pass, he said, is “in many ways a crowning achievement” to his three decade-long familiarity with the area.

Tony Brummet, Land, Parks and Housing Minister, officially opened the Black Tusk Village subdivision Saturday. The 94 strata-lot subdivision was built to provide a new home for former residents of Garibaldi, which in 1981 was declared hazardous because of the Barrier, a rock face nearby.

Whistler residents Lee MacLaurin and Ian Mounsey were wed Saturday in a ceremony at Tyrol Lodge. Lee is the daughter of Isobel and Don MacLaurin of Whistler, and Ian is the son of Ken and Sylvia Mounsey of Galiano Island. Best man at the wedding was Jim Lang, while Lee’s sisters Sue and Jill were bridesmaids. Marriage Commissioner Joan Hinds of Squamish performed the ceremony and guests at the Tyrol Lodge reception were treated to a topographic wedding cake sculpted in the form of Whistler Mountain and decorated with a pair of “ski-niks” and candy trees. Lee started a family tradition by wearing they same dress mother Isobel wore at her wedding 26 years ago.

This Week In Photos: July 26

This week, like last week, we’ve got photos from every year of the Question Collection!  From windsurfing to dentists, Doug and the Slugs to puppet shows, these photos represent what was going on in Whistler (and Pemberton) this week, many years ago.

1979

Windsurfers and sunbathers enjoy the Alta Vista dock.

Dr. Ann Crowley, the new Pemberton Dentist.

The chow line at the Ski Camp barbecue.

Doug and the Slugs perform at the Ski Camp barbecue.

The roads around Whistler Vale got paved this week.

Terry Minger shows the Resort Association chart to the Whistler Rotary Club.

1980

The Husky gas station in Creekside sees steady business no matter the season.

Arnold Palmer, former PGA Champion, explains some of the ideas intended for the course at Whistler, with diagram posted behind him.

The Resort Centre doesn’t look like much but it will eventually have an Olympic-size ice rink. Something to look forward to during the late hot weather.

1981

Flag footballers take advantage of a sunny Sunday to show off some of their moves.

Former Mayor Wendell Watson and Mayor Shirley Henry cut the Pemberton Village 25th Anniversary Cake.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s super skier!

Rain Coast Puppet Theatre group captivates an audience of young and old in Whistler Village Square on July 24.

A sunny summer day and lush new landscaping – Mayor Pat Carleton and his wife Kay take advantage of Whistler at its finest to enjoy a stroll through Town Centre.

One innovative sunbather found a unique way to beat the heat of Saturday, July 25 at the Rotary Wharf on Alta Lake.

Bob Daly, recently of Surrey, has been appointed the new principal for Myrtle Philip Elementary School. Daly has 12 years teaching experience as well as experience as the head of a science department. In addition to his administrative functions, he will be teaching Grades 6 and 7 at MPES.

1982

One of the first customers makes an inquiry at the reception desk of the newly opened Delta Mountain Inn last Friday.

Mayor Pat Carleton pushing lawn mower.

“Surviving A Personal Financial Crisis” – a handbook.

Competitors take aim during the First Annual International Dart Tournament held at the Longhorn July 23 – 25.

1983

Terry Booth, an electrician with Whistler Mountain (left), graduated at the top of his class at Pacific Vocational Institute and is presented a certificate by Peter Alder, vice president and general manager of Whistler Mountain. Booth studied electrical work at PVI in four two-month sessions over two and a half years. He is one of eight EMSC employees being sponsored for an apprenticeship program.

Spanking new span over Culliton Creek is due to open by July 29 according to Vern Dancy, structural co-ordinator for Goodbrand Construction.

Al Davis heads out for a sail on what he described as a “classic day” for windsurfing on Alta Lake. The weekend sun gave way to rain by Monday.

Diane Eby, of Inge’s Hole in the Wall Gallery, has a wide selection of limited edition prints, reprints and posters for sale. The present collection, which includes pieces from $18 to $600 include works of Markgraf, Bateman and Lansdowne. The works on display will change at least once a month, Eby said.

After the lesson on infant nutrition during the Mother-Infant Program, this group of mums headed over to the Sundial Restaurant to see to their own nutrition. (top row, l – r) Public Health Nurse Marilyn McIvor, Sheila Peters and Colin, Annie Sanderson and Patrick, Lezlie Lock and Jessica, Sandy Epplett and Patricia; (bottom row, l – r) Merrilyn Hoffmann and Christina and Karen Martin and Robyn.

1984

Master of Ceremonies Tom Thomson talks to Glenn Carlsen, the winner of Saturday’s 57 km Molson Lite Whistler Triathlon organized by the Alta Lake Sports Club.

For thirsty triathletes competing in 27+ weather Saturday, watermelons in Village Square were a needed source of water for dehydrated competitors.

Yes, the water was a bit cool Sunday morning for the first leg of the Junior Triathlon in Lost Lake.

If the hydro’s going in to the new municipal hall, can the staff by far behind? Construction is advancing quickly as the staff at Function Junction tidy their desks in anticipation of the move back to the village scheduled for mid August.