Opinion » Editorial


You’ve probably spotted the Dec. 8-22 issue of Condo Guide around town. It has a colour illustration of Trilogy’s Alpenglow development, which will commence construction in Village North in the spring, and has a banner across the front cover proclaiming "Whistler Special Feature." The editorial in this edition makes note of Whistler’s ceiling on development and states that "With fewer than 12,000 pillows remaining and a resort that is receiving acclaim as the number one choice of skiers on the continent, an equation for appreciation seems naturally to follow. At the rate at which new development is breaking ground, Whistler is destined to be built-out by December ’96. That gives you less than a year to make your move into the market." This is hardly a revelation for anyone who has lived in Whistler and/or followed development for any length of time. What is new is that many people — including people outside of Whistler — are finally realizing the end of development is in site. Anyone who owns property, or hopes to own property, generally expects that the value of that property will increase over time. That’s why buying a home or piece of property is an investment, rather than just a purchase. There is nothing wrong with this; it’s part of the North American dream. But another part of the North American dream has always been that there is another frontier, another place to go to, more land will be available. Examples of the folly of that philosophy are plentiful; many ski resorts in the American Rockies are text book cases. A ceiling on Whistler’s development has been in place since the early 1970s. The virtues of that ceiling, and the wisdom in imposing it from the start, are apparent now as Whistler approaches build out. However, the limitations and problems associated with a ceiling on development are also now becoming apparent. Whistler may be maturing as far as physical development goes, but it is still in relative infancy as far as the development of the community is concerned. The final race to buy into Whistler before it is all developed — particularly now as national and international investors realize the clock is ticking — does little for the long-term health of Whistler as a community. Some sort of mechanism to allow people to invest in Whistler from the community side, rather than for strictly financial reasons, is necessary.

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