Opinion » Editorial


...and the clock keeps ticking I haven’t made a new year’s resolution yet, but I’m willing to do so here: I won’t write about affordable resident housing in this space if the new municipal council actually deals with the issue. I say this because for more than a decade affordable housing has been talked about, written about, meetings held, committees formed, a fund established and still there has been precious little done in the way of actually building affordable resident housing — certainly the problem has increased disproportionate to the amount of affordable housing that has been built. While it may be tough to get work done over the holiday season there are indications that yet another opportunity to do something about one of the most fundamental problems Whistler faces is being squandered while committees are formed and consultants study issues. Consider: o In October, against the wishes of the majority of the Whistler Valley Housing Society Board, the last council issued a call for affordable housing proposals. The WVHS board position was any housing proposals that come in should be dealt with immediately. o A dozen proposals were submitted by the Nov. 15 deadline. Originally all proposals were to be displayed at the Nov. 24 Town Hall meeting, but time did not permit that to happen. o In a letter to council dated Dec. 9 new WVHS President Drew Stotesbury made it clear that time was of the essence. "We are just starting one ski/snowboard season and yet already it is very late in the development cycle to produce housing prior to next season," Stotesbury wrote. "However there is still a window. And the Board of the WVHS is keen and committed to doing everything possible to succeed in this regard... However Council holds the key and all of the cards." o Stotesbury concluded his letter, which outlined some of the frustrations the WVHS is having with its role, by saying "these thoughts are meant to give Council a sense of the past, present and potential future of the WVHS as a precursor to a meeting, between our two boards, that we hope to conduct in the very near future — certainly before Christmas." Council decided it couldn’t meet the WVHS board until the new year. o Meanwhile, the municipality is hiring a consultant to look at the administrative structure required to support housing — even though there is no new housing. The consultant is also supposed to help define the municipality’s role in that administrative structure and the WVHS role overall. At this point a dozen affordable housing proposals have been in municipal hands for a month-and-a-half. The municipality also has $6 million in the bank for affordable housing. The Whistler Valley Housing Society has some ideas and is anxious to get some housing built but can’t even get a meeting with council to determine its role. There’s also been some suggestion council should commission a study to determine what kind of affordable housing is most appropriate. I hope I can keep my New Year’s resolution.