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Council approves employee housing changes

Forsyth only councillor opposed

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By Alison Taylor

The only Whistler councillor who lives in price-restricted employee housing is also the only councillor not in favour of the recent changes to employee housing policies.

On Monday night Councillor Ralph Forsyth voted against a series of policy changes brought forward by the Whistler Housing Authority. Among other things, the changes mean those units once tied to the Vancouver market appreciation formula will now be tied to the more modest Core Consumer Price Index upon resale.

“It’s changing the rules halfway,” Forsyth said this week, explaining his decision on Monday night. “The logic I understand, the policy I do not.”

Units tied to the Vancouver market had escalated dramatically in the last four years. The formula change was designed to ensure the homes remained affordable.

Last summer, after the policy was first introduced, there was a public outcry from employee housing residents. Based on that, council decided to review its decision to change the appreciation formula on several housing projects.

The following six months brought about extensive public consultation on not just the formula, but several other policies at the WHA which residents felt needed to be reviewed and updated. WHA general manager Marla Zucht presented the new policy recommendations to council Monday night.

“Thank you for your perseverance in handling this project,” said Mayor Ken Melamed.

There were calls from Councillors Eckhard Zeidler and Bob Lorriman to delay the decision by two weeks to allow for more consultation.

In answer to Lorriman’s question in what the harm was in delaying, Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said: “Because we get frozen by indecision…”

“The due diligence has been done,” added the mayor. “It’s time to make a decision and move on.”

The new appreciation formula will not be capped at 5 per cent, as originally proposed.

To review all the new changes go to www.whistlerhousing.ca

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