News » Whistler

First Person: Tim Regan

A developer's perspective on housing



As a developer who lives in Whistler, Tim Regan has a vested interest in the wellbeing of this community.

He has called Whistler his home for almost 15 years. This is where he is raising his young family and where his business, Vision Pacific, is thriving in the construction of award-winning high-end homes.

He takes time out of his busy schedule to coach Atom hockey and he writes and performs children’s stories at Myrtle Philip School.

"This is my home. There is no other place on earth that I would rather live," he said.

Two years ago he presented the community with a chance to build a large employee housing project. He spent a lot of time, energy and money on the project but it ultimately it was turned down.

Devastated and drained by the whole experience, he was ready to throw in the towel. But the community rallied behind him and since then, he’s been plugging away at new options to do his part to help solve Whistler’s critical housing problems.

Regan compares Whistler to Manhattan. Both areas are places that people want to be. Both command high real estate values, the difference being that Manhattan had the foresight to create a large number of rent-controlled units which has somewhat sheltered local residents from escalating real estate prices.

Whistler however is still struggling to meet its housing needs.

Regan talked to Pique Newsmagazine about his failed development proposal, the future of restricted housing deals and the current economic forces at work in the real estate market.

Pique: Tell me about your Whistler 3 project. What went wrong?

Regan: The original Whistler 3 project had a 10-acre lot in Whistler Cay, 10-acre lot in White Gold and an 18-acre lot in Cheakamus North (between Millars Pond and Spring Creek). The original plan was to increase the zoning on the White Gold and the Whistler Cay sites by 13 lots to pay for 500 employee-restricted beds on the Cheakamus North site, as well as provide the much-needed connecting road between Millar’s Pond and Spring Creek.

The project collapsed when we were told to move the high-end market lots from the White Gold site, place them on the Cheakamus North site and make White Gold into employee housing. We were unable to make the economics of this switch viable and the deal collapsed.

Pique: Did you put together the deal because it wouldn’t go through without restricted housing components or was it for more altruistic reasons?

Regan: I put together the deal because I thought it made a lot of sense. As a member of the community I knew we were desperate for some employee housing and as a developer I thought instead of building five homes on 38 centrally located acres, which is all the sites were zoned for, it would be better for everyone to increase density and provide a community benefit.