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Amar Varma

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Affordability should have been on the minds of the old council. The main focus hasn’t been on affordability. It’s been on sustainability, whatever that means. I know what it means to me.

It should have been more focused because then we wouldn’t be in this situation.

What are the key issues facing the next council?

There needs to be more affordable housing created. We need to work on a strategy of how we’re going to do that and I want it done within Whistler, within the current boundaries of Whistler.

I don’t want it to grow like Aspen or places like that where you have satellite communities to service the resort. And I don’t like the idea of having a 9-kilometres down the road community for workers. It basically turns into a ghetto. You know, bussed in, work, bussed out. I just don’t think that’s what I want this place to be like. It’s important for me that they play in the village after they work in the village. I mean, why else would you be up here? Being shuffled off to the Callaghan after you finish work is not what I see for a future for here. The backbone of the community needs to live here instead of having to drive here. I think that’s the major issue that the council should look at. It should be at the forefront.

Affordable housing will also address the amount of money that people in Whistler pay in property taxes.

You shouldn’t have to pay the taxes just because the prices are going up.

The length of time that residents lived or owned here should somehow reduce your tax. It’s a strategy to look into.

There are also little things that you can do that will make people happy, that will make them feel that the community is looking out for them.

It wouldn’t hurt us to give them free parking permits so that when they park on Main Street they don’t get ticketed or they don’t have to put in $2 every time.

If the municipality initiated a program like a local’s card program with deals on services, that would be nice.

It’s something to look at. You have to give back to the community too just so that they don’t feel alienated. I find a lot of people are alienated with the municipality.

We live in a tourist town. We need to get the money from the tourists but you don’t have to charge the residents tourist prices.

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