The number of residents with trouble making ends meet has
increased by 10 per cent over the last year, reported Dan Wilson from Whistler
“Essentially quality of life remains strong, but one of the
challenges is affordability,” Wilson told council last week.
Approximately 27 per cent of Whistler’s permanent residents
earned an income below the cost of living in 2007, up from 18 per cent in 2006.
And 70 per cent of seasonal workers are living below the affordability line,
also up from 66 per cent the previous year.
Wilson did point out that some of the seasonal workers choose
not to work full time. However, almost half of seasonal employees (49 per cent)
are still making less than the cost of living involuntarily.
The three areas Whistlerites spend the most on are
accommodation, recreation, and food, he added.
Despite these numbers, Wilson also said that total income in
Whistler is trending upwards.
“Total income is still less than in 2001, when you account for
inflation, but it is the highest it has been in the last five years,” he said.
Other highlights from the presentation include that the number
of employees living in Whistler is just over 11,000, both permanent residents
and seasonal residents are extremely satisfied with Whistler’s recreational
opportunities, and summer tourist accommodation occupancy increased between
2006 and 2007.
On the environmental side, Whistlerites are using less water
annually, only 520 litres in 2007, down from 566 litres in 2006. But the
development footprint has also increased from 1,014 hectares in 2006 to 1,070
hectares in 2007, which Wilson said this was largely due to the Cheakamus
Crossing and Rainbow developments.
The number of unlawful incidents in Whistler also increased in
2007 compared to previous years, with a record number of reported incidents in
2007 at 2,383, said Wilson.
“This is a
tremendous report and it is a great way to keep track of the community,” said
Mayor Ken Melamed following the presentation.
“It tells the good side and the bad side and shows where we
need to expend more effort.”
The Whistler 2020 Monitoring Report is available to the public
Passenger vans get a boost, literally