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Majority want infill housing for Whistler's future

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The preliminary results of the comprehensive sustainability planning process are in and the favourite future so far calls for resident housing within the existing corridor.

"It's not surprising," said Mike Vance, general manager of community initiatives at the municipality.

"We heard a lot... of concern over moving as far away as the Callaghan from our built up areas and concerns over... community vitality and greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on the road, congestion, and a number of those other matters."

In November the community was presented with five possible futures that would chart Whistler's course until the year 2020.

They were:

 no new development;

 resident housing in the existing corridor;

 a new neighbourhood in the Callaghan;

 a diversified economy, and;

 increased market housing.

A strong majority is so far leaning towards the second scenario.

The least favourite future was Scenario 1, which called for a future that stayed true to Whistler's current development cap with the resort reaching build out by next year.

Scenario 3, putting resident housing in the Callaghan Valley, was also not highly supported said Vance.

The municipality cannot give percentages of the number of people who voted for each scenario at this point in time.

All the data is currently being tabulated at Simon Fraser University and is to come back to the municipality by the end of next week.

That analysis will identify common themes in the survey answers. For example, it will look at themes common to homeowners versus themes common to renters.

The RMOW will continue to survey various groups in the community to see if these themes hold true.

A blended future, with elements from more than one scenario, will then be presented for public review next month.

Resident Kevin Rea was at Monday's council meeting asking for clarifications about the CSP process.

He expressed concern over the lack of votes from second homeowners in the community. Only 55 of roughly 800 responses to the process were from second homeowners.

"I think they weren't given full notice or perhaps proper communication," said Rea.

He also expressed concerns about one of the key assumptions in the whole process, which calls for up to 7,000 new bed units for the resident workforce by the year 2020 if the resort is to maintains its vitality. The theory is that more and more employee beds will be lost through leakage. Rea asked for proof that this leakage will occur at this rate.

"It may be high," said Vance of the assumption.

"The idea is not to go out and build them all right away, it's to build them in increments as we need them because the concept is that leakage is gradual over time."

For more information about the process go to the www.whistlerfuture.com Web site. There will be community consultation throughout the entire process as the municipality works towards the CSP.

Councillor Gordon McKeever assured Rea at Monday's meeting.

"It's certainly the conviction of everyone that the needs of the community are paramount."

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