Housing style can be a choice
I've read a couple of comments from people living in their vehicles because they can't find housing.
I've personally known many people living in their vehicle — all of them do it as a life-style choice. No one can tell me a full-time bus driver in Whistler, who's lived here 20-plus years can't find housing. He offered us $300 per month to live in our driveway and had a list of demands that included Wi-Fi, Internet, hydro for his tin can, use of our bathroom — everything but to sleep in our house.
We've had people live in our driveway — never again. It's not that they don't want to pay a reasonable amount for housing — they don't want to pay anything.
People know they're coming to Whistler but don't plan ahead. I know housing is difficult to find but there are places that take people who live in vehicles — try one of the campgrounds.
It's not right in the village, but please explain to me why people with real jobs who commute from Squamish and Pemberton daily should give up prime parking so "homeless" people can live free in the village within walking distance of the lift.
One person from Australia described himself as a long-time local because he's worked here four seasons — sorry, but that makes him a seasonal employee at best.
One person said people living in their vehicles have memberships to the rec centre so they can shower. Does this mean they're going to clear drifts of snow off their vehicles and warm them up for half an hour before they drive to the rec centre to relieve themselves? Of course not. I looked at his name and wondered if he was the same half-naked man relieving himself in front of the animal shelter (please, no lectures here about the difference between dog and human excrement).
Some of the comments and statistics I read are made up and based on not knowing what they're talking about.
Landlords don't get rid of tenants because they're getting older — we had a long-time tenant who had to leave because we needed more space for our children. Older people might be happy to have a pair of strong arms to help with things like chopping wood, but tenants we have had never even picked up a shovel to get their own car out of the driveway, let alone do something for someone else.
Some tenants were so incredibly ignorant I was afraid to leave the house overnight in case they destroyed it. Some of these people feel justified in their actions because (one tenant said to me) they want to get their money's worth.
We gave people a chance and charged $500/month for a basement suite (hydro included) but quickly upped it to $700 when we saw what was happening.
This is dirt cheap and we still ended up getting people who felt justified in getting their money's worth. Basically, they turned themselves into more trouble than they're worth so now we don't have tenants anymore even though the kids are gone.
Whistler, as a general rule, has been very accepting of just about any kind of lifestyle but, I'll just bet councils past and present haven't put in all those hours and years trying to turn our town into a tent city.
In fact, I'd say the opposite is true. Any true long-time local will know living in Whistler leans a little more toward the lifestyle portrayed in Breaking Bad, but our council would prefer to present it as first-class and polished.
Spearheads huts a welcome addition
Open letter to Whistler mayor and council:
I live in Squamish and so consider myself as having a legitimate interest in the establishment of the Spearhead Huts.
(In referring to the Dec. 29 article in the Pique...) the comments attributed to councillors Steve Anderson and Jen Ford appear to me to be ill-informed. Given Coun. Anderson's indicated interest in an outdoor adventure company and a local heli-ski operation one has to wonder if it is appropriate for him to comment on this project (at all).
Consider the experience in Europe and in the Canadian Rockies on alpine hut accommodation. Huts have been in use (in these locations) since the late 1800s and have been a tremendous success. They often fill to beyond capacity during peak season, serving their purpose extremely well:
• making the backcountry accessible to a much wider population, families with children, the elderly, those of us who no longer can or want to schlep a 20-kilogram backpack;
• reducing pollution and minimizing the impact on the environment by imposing a much smaller and more benign footprint than camping, for example at the Kokanee Glacier Cabin and the Lake O'Hara Lodge;
• greatly enhancing tourism revenue streams for all levels of government; tourism being a much more compatible economic activity for the Sea to Sky country than an LNG plant in Howe Sound.
Those with a different viewpoint have no shortage of opportunities for completely self-reliant wilderness experiences in the rest of the largely undeveloped B.C. Coast Range.
Is this what Whistler is coming to?
Relatives of mine recently booked an Airbnb listing accommodation for two nights prior to New Year's Eve for $325 per night only to discover upon arrival that the one bedroom was a single bedroom with a shared bathroom with a second "guest bedroom" located within a family-occupied, three-bedroom condo located in the Whistler North area behind Marketplace.
The Airbnb brand derives from "bed and breakfast (B&B). My relatives didn't even receive an offer of a morning coffee either morning of their stay — nada.
My wife Betty and I were 29-year Whistler residents before moving to Squamish. I ran several legal nightly rentals in Whistler several years ago, over an eight-year period — all of our guests were completely satisfied.
But I'm assuming that this is what Whistler has come down to — shame!
Mature Action Christmas party
Now that the Christmas madness is in our rear view mirror, we wanted to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the companies that sponsored our recent Christmas Party at Nicklaus North.
That starts with the amazingly decorated Nicklaus North dining room Table 19 and the staff who made the evening a complete success.
Our thanks and appreciation for their support also goes out to Nesters Market, Starbucks, Your Independent Grocer, Nesters Liquor Store, Scandinave Spa, Tim Hortons, Profile Ski Tuning, Whistler Physio – Zoe Hunt, Senka Florist, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Alpine Café, Marketplace IGA and Be Beauty Spa. Thanks, once again, for helping to make the evening a complete success.
Stacey Murl, President, Mature Action Community Society