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In 1999 my company, Vision Pacific, put forward the Whistler 3 proposal, offering to build 155,000 sq.ft. of affordable employee housing at the all-in cost of $155 per sq.ft., as well as a multi-million-dollar connecting road between Millars Pond and Spring Creek.
I put this deal forward because Whistler was in an affordable housing crisis, and I wanted to do everything in my power to help the community. In the end, the council of the day ultimately decided not to support the deal and the Whistler affordable housing crisis continued to grow for the next 10 years.
The opportunity cost to the community of this failed re-zoning was immense. Not having any available employee housing between 2000 and 2010 killed any ability we had as a community to attract other industries and grow in other economic areas. As a community, we lost an opportunity to diversify and lost economic momentum.
In 2010, the housing crisis was resolved through the construction of employee units at Rainbow and Cheakamus Crossing. I was proud that my company was finally able to construct fabulous family homes at Rainbow, keeping these vibrant community members living and working in Whistler.
Whistler's current council recognizes the need to diversify and is looking at education as a silo for future growth and for creating economic momentum.
At this time, a large proposal by Whistler International Campus (Whistler U) is in front of council. I encourage the community to get engaged and understand the facts. I think it is very important for the community to put the "open for business" sign back out. If there is a deal to be done that gives both parties the ability to move forward, then I think we should work really hard to make it so.
CARDA: worth supporting
I would like to thank the Pique, and reporter Alison Taylor, for writing the article on Radar the rescue dog in the March 28 edition.
The Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) is a personal story for me, but it's also a human-interest story for people who are interested in safety in the mountains.
Professional ski patrollers are the core of the members in CARDA and they are paid to ski patrol and do avalanche rescue dog training.
What isn't widely known is that to become a validated Avalanche Rescue Dog Handler Team the patrollers have to pay for the first two courses until they get their papers, so to speak. Then they must keep the dog trained to a high standard (that includes) helicopter rescue validation, (and training in using) specialized equipment. And (then there is the) vast amount of training time away from ski patrol work, which is also needed, as well as food, vet bills etc. It is estimated that for the life of one dog the cost is approximately $60,000 all in.