11th Hour Venue Change for First Whistler Beer Festival

Whistler Olympic Plaza, Not Village Square, to Host 45 Brewers

Whistler’s inaugural beer festival, originally planned to liven up the heart of the village, will now be held at Olympic Plaza.

The plaza has been home to several major events this summer, like the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Children’s Art Festival and the Ironman finish corral.

On Tuesday, council gave the green light for the new Whistler Village Beer Festival, approving the Special Occasion License required for events with more than 850 people. The site can hold up to 2,500 for the beer festival.

It will take up about half of the plaza space with the area under the covered pavilion hosting tents from 45 brewers, including the Whistler Brewing Company and the Brew House.

But Joey Gibbons of the Gibbons Hospitality Group, which owns the Longhorn, Tapley’s and Buffalo Bill’s, had a vision of it being held right in the centre of town.

“I’m a firm believer that Whistler is at its best when we use Whistler to its fullest,” explained Gibbons, using village-wide examples of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Crankworx and the Olympics to illustrate his point. “If they’re placed in a stand-alone location then it’s at times tougher for that to happen.”

As the plans for the festival evolved however, the location changed. Gibbons sees that the plaza is an easier venue, particularly for this inaugural year. But as the festival develops he sees it spreading village-wide.

The municipal communications department said via email: “The beer festival location was changed because event and resort operations and logistics work better in Olympic Plaza.”

Gibbons said he has been pleased to see the great collaboration in working through this event with the municipality.

“The more we can start thinking of Whistler as being one… I believe the more successful we’re going to be,” said Gibbons. “We are collaborating better than we ever have in the past.”

Now it’s full steam ahead. Ticket sales have ramped up in recent weeks, and patrons will also be able to vote for their favourite beer.

“The winning beer brand will be served in participating establishments for one year,” explained Bob Andrea, manager of village animation and events, to council.

New Liquor License Fee Bylaw

Council is considering a new bylaw detailing the application fees and processes for liquor licenses in Whistler.

The move comes after new license types were introduced by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch earlier this year, as the province looks to revamp its outdated liquor laws.

The bylaw, which received the first of three readings this week, details among other things the fees, processes and processing times for things like Special Occasion Licensed Events, Catering Licensed Events and new liquor primary licenses.

First Mons Development Gets Permit

Building at Whistler’s newest commercial core at Mons Road is set to get underway.

On Tuesday council approved a development permit for a 5,000 square foot building in the first phase of the area now known as Nesters Crossing.

The permit includes associated surface parking, yard storage, fenced open-air storage and a small portion of road and landscaping.

The building is set to be the new home of Coast Mountain Excavations.

The site, two kilometres north of the village on the west side of the highway, will be accessed from behind the Whistler Transit Facility via a new road.

The property is zoned CTI1 (Community and Transportation Infrastructure One). The land has a maximum build out of 200,000 square feet with uses that include indoor and outdoor recreation, a fuel service station, recycling depot for household goods, vehicle impound lot, taxi dispatch and storage yard, and landscaping services.

Developers Steve Bayly and Nigel Woods must build the Valley Trail connections through the site, or provide security for the trails to be built by a specified date before they can build beyond this initial first phase.

— by Alison Taylor

Brittia Thompson