Opinion » Editorial


The cost of living in Whistler



It costs about $26,000 a year for an individual to live reasonably well in Whistler, according to the Whistler 2020 monitoring report. “Reasonably well” includes having enough money for rent, groceries, transportation, utilities, recreation, entertainment and other “quality of life” experiences.

But there are other costs built in to living in Whistler, and most other towns, that aren’t so readily apparent. The cost of social services, environmental programs, arts and culture programs and many of the other things that add to the quality of life in Whistler are largely funded by residents and taxpayers.

If you own property, of course, you pay property taxes to the municipality. If you rent, your monthly payment inevitably helps cover your landlord’s property taxes. And the municipality uses a portion of property tax revenue to help fund a network of social programs, including the municipality’s Community Enrichment Program, which this year handed out $216,000 to 22 organizations.

The municipality also provided $476,000 to three organizations — WAG, Whistler Museum and Archives Society and the Whistler Arts Council — for “fee for service” contracts this year. And since April, the municipality has been providing $6,500 a month in emergency funding to the Whistler Daycare Centre to compensate for cuts in federal daycare funding.

Individually, most Whistlerites also make contributions to social programs. Every time we drop something off or buy something from the Whistler Community Services Society’s Re-Use-It Centre, for example, we are contributing to WCSS programs. The amazingly successful Re-Use-It Centre is not only self-sustaining, it generates enough profit to fund several WCSS programs.

Even dropping something off at the waste transfer station means a financial contribution to environmental programs. Part of the tipping fees collected by the municipality are turned over to the Community Foundation of Whistler for its Environmental Legacy Fund, which distributed more than $73,000 in grants to seven projects this year.

These are some of the ways that everyone in Whistler contributes to the programs that make life in Whistler a little richer. But of course there are many other ways that Whistlerites contribute directly to programs, in Whistler and elsewhere. Philanthropy is generally associated with names like Gates and Buffett, but everyone is faced with requests for contributions on an almost daily basis, and most people in Whistler give.

A cursory review of fundraising events in one month, October, starts with the Raise a Reader program on Oct. 3 at Myrtle Philp school. Parents who helped out at the school were invited to make donations to the cause of literacy.

The Whistler Golf Club and Telus had a $59 golf special for 144 golfers on Oct. 5. All proceeds went to support the Canadian Alpine Ski Team.

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