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Final phase of Bear Ridge employee restricted housing sells out in under three hours

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Megan Rignanesi is already decorating her new Bear Ridge home.

Well, at least in her imagination.

She and fiancé Jason Reynolds won’t get to move into the new Intrawest- Whistler Housing Authority employee restricted housing complex until early 2004.

"The hard part now is waiting," said Rignanesi who works for Whistler-Blackcomb and has lived in town for five years.

"We had pretty much succumbed to the fact that we would have to move to Pemberton in order to be able to afford it."

"Then… we found out in September that they were launching Bear Ridge Phase III and so we felt that was a perfect opportunity to be able to stay in Whistler because we both work in Whistler."

Phase III of the Spring Creek development will begin construction in the spring of 2003.

Phase I and II, comprising 60 units, were sold out in February and should be ready to welcome their new owners in 2003.

"It was wonderful and everyone was terribly exited," said Mike Cole, Development Manager for Intrawest’s Resort Development Group.

"We had lots of young families with babies.

"We know at least half the people who bought the units and it is so nice to see them planning long term homes in Whistler."

The Bear Ridge complex features one, two and three-bedroom townhouses.

It was a unique project for both Intrawest and the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA), which worked together to ensure that the properties would go to the right people.

"The working relationship with Intrawest was great," said Marla Zucht, housing administrator for the WHA.

"We look forward to doing it again in the future.

"It is great to see this type of housing in the community."

Intrawest and the WHA combined their lists, taking one entry from each list as the sales went forward. All 40 units in Phase III sold out in less than three hours.

The units ranged in price from $104,000 to $250,000 for a three-bedroom, 1,500 square foot home.

The project will be administered by the WHA in the future, which means that all applicants have to meet the WHA’s criteria and agree to comply with the authority’s restrictions in the future. Bear Ridge is now part of the WHA’s inventory of residential housing.

To apply for a house you had to be employed or self-employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week over the past 12 months within resort boundaries. Retirees were also able to buy, providing they were employed in Whistler for five of the six years prior to retirement.

The covenant on the land title dictates, among other things, that Bear Ridge owners can only sell to the next person on the WHA housing wait list.

The resale value of the unit is controlled by the WHA based on the Housing Price Index for Greater Vancouver. If the owners want to sell the WHA has the right of first refusal, and can purchase the unit itself.

Bear Ridge owners can rent their properties, but only at the rates set by the WHA.

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