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Maxed out - Chump change

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Problem was, the lot was zoned for townhouses totalling 7,000 square feet and no, I don’t know what the metric equivalent is. Problem solved; council agreed to sever the lot into two titles and allow 3,500 square foot homes on each.

New problem. Seems the Houghtons would be squeezed a little tight if forced to live in 3,500 square foot shacks. Five thousand square feet each would be a more comfortable fit for their respective families.

Totally unrelated problems. The new daycare centre planned for the Spring Creek area is about 250G’s short of funding to go ahead; it is badly needed. For reasons that escape me, Millennium Place could use another 50G’s.

Quid: $300,000 cold, hard cash. Quo: Zoning variance to allow each of the brothers Houghton to build 5,000 square foot cottages on the scenic slope of Whistler Mountain.

I’ve got to admire the brothers’ chutzpah. They engineered a brilliant, complex business deal that allowed them to realize their profit on a piece of land they managed to assemble through the unconscionable ignorance of one of Mayor Nebbeling’s former councils, without ever exposing themselves to the construction or marketing risk of developing it. They talked council into dealing favourably with the townhome site Intrawest tossed into the deal to make it work. Now, having an unspoiled track record, they’re back for one more kick at the cat.

I’m not going to delve into the philosophical, environmental or ethical quagmire of whether 5,000 square foot homes are good or bad. I think they suck and if there is any such thing as karma or a just God, all the little piggies will be made into bacon in this life or the next, if you believe in such things. The sad fact is, more of the final development of Whistler will involve the indulgently rich building homes that fly in the face of sustainable community, environmental stewardship or any concept of human scale. Money talks.

And I’m not going to be drawn into a debate about the need for daycare. Of course it’s needed. The rate at which the fecund population of our town commits parenthood and the reality of service job salaries precludes the quaint notion of a stay-at-home parent tending happily to their offspring. We will all pay for the next generation of shredders; it has been ever thus.