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Whistler ought to be a town of vibrant neighbourhoods filled with a diverse mix of those kids, some of whom are lucky enough or in debt enough to own a home, many of whom rent suites in homes, some of whom live in "managed" housing and a whack of whom live in employee housing.
The most crucial element of our "healthy" resort is the energy that mix brings to the destination tourist experience. You see, we live our guests dream. For a week or two, they want to share in it, they want to be us. Our mountains are a bit better than a lot of other resorts, our cute pedestrian village is more cozy. But the energy of our people is what defines the Whistler experience. Its our competitive advantage. We act like we have a stake in this town because we live in this town. Threaten that and you threaten our success.
One of the tricks we need to master is how to keep our neighbourhoods from sliding headlong into the dark, empty scenario. One way to fail miserably at this trick is to keep on doing what weve been doing nothing. Every time we let someone walk into an existing neighbourhood, plop down a wad of dough, bring in a bulldozer and raze a house and suite only to build their "dream" home, sans suite, were letting them destroy our shared vision. Theyre not buying into our community theyre destroying it. They have their own dream and it aint the same one were trying to share and build.
So how do we stop them?
Make em build a suite to replace the one theyve destroyed. Right there on the same spot. Make em rent it to a worker bee. Or make em let the housing authority do it if they cant seem to find the time themselves. No wiggle room. No cash in lieu. No exceptions.
Some would say thats draconian. Some would say its downright commie. Some would say its tramping on property rights.
The rights being tramped on are our rights, as a community, to protect the very thing thats made us successful and will keep us successful in the future. Theyre being tramped on by people who dont want to share the vision with us. Theyre being tramped on by people who would, by and large, be just as happy investing their money in any town they thought theyd earn a decent return in, destination resort or not.