A portrait of Whistler in 1997 The following are some of the key findings of the 1997 municipal monitoring report. Development For Dec. 31, 1997, the Planning Department estimates that Whistler will have 41,399 developed bed units, an increase of 3,828 bed units, or 10.2 per cent, over 1996’s developed bed units. o The year to date figure of construction value for November 1997 ($97,825,471) is down 44 per cent from the same period in 1996 ($178,448,844), based upon building permits. o Single family homes built totalled 85 as of November 1997, compared to 95 as of November of 1996. o Overall, construction of dwelling units within Whistler is down 63.57 per cent when compared to November 1996 year to date figures. o Commercial space within Whistler continued to expand in 1997, with the majority of the new space being used for retail (2,418 sq.m.), followed by space for restaurants (1,600 sq.m) and bars (557 sq.m). Overall, the commercial space increased by approximately 3,300 square metres, for a new total of 143,584 square metres. o Approximately 578 employee bed units (182 dwelling units) have been developed or are well under construction this year, bringing the total of affordable bed units to approximately 2,283. o Build-out is estimated to occur around 2003, with the majority of projects to be completed before 2000, based on current trends. Social issues According to the 1996 Census, Whistler’s full time population increased to 7,172, while the 1997 full time population is estimated to be about 8,000. It is predicted that Whistler’s full time population will increase to approximately 11,000 people, but a more accurate estimate is not possible as the in-migration of second home owners can not be fully quantified. o The average price of a single family home sold in Whistler has increased to $651,580 in 1997 from $519,899 in 1996. That compares to $1,000,000 (CDN) in Eagle County (Vail) and $2,800,000 (CDN) in Aspen. o Median incomes for Whistlerites has remained lower than the provincial average over the last several years, with a Whistler husband/wife family earning a median income of $49,200, 98 per cent of the provincial median ($50,300). o Based upon projections and estimations provided by the Whistler Resort Association and the RMOW Planning Department, the estimated total daily population in Whistler for 1997 is 18,000 people. This number takes into account visitors, day-trippers, residents and seasonal residents. o According to the cost of living survey conducted in December of 1996 by the Community Futures Development Corporation of Howe Sound, a typical basket of groceries purchased in Whistler costs 16 per cent more than the same basket purchased in Vancouver. Community facilities and infrastructure o School enrolments continued to increase, with Myrtle Philip Community School increasing in students by 12.73 per cent between the 1995-96 and 1996-97 school year (taking into account that Grade 7 students have moved to the new high school). o Sewage flows in 1997 are estimated to average 9,000 cubic metres per month, as compared to an average of 8,802 cubic metres per month in 1996. o Recycling is increasing, but there is concern that landfill volumes are continuing to increase. Almost 50 per cent of landfill waste in 1996 was from construction materials and wood waste. o Water use within Whistler increased by 12.54 per cent over 1995, for a total amount of 3,527 million litres of water being used. Economy The 1996-97 winter witnessed another record for skier visits, a total of 1.74 million skiers. o 322 new business licenses were issued between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 1996. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 1997, 228 business licenses were issued. o There was a 23.9 per cent increase in business incorporations for the 1996 year when compared to 1995. British Columbia experienced a 2.6 per cent decrease over the same time period. o The overall number of room nights sold increased by 5.1 per cent due to an increase in visitation to the resort. Hotel occupancies were down when compared to 1995-96. During the summer, occupancies were down 3 per cent, while in the winter occupancies were down 4 per cent, due to the increase in rooms available. o On average, each room night sold in Whistler generates approximately $2 towards the delivery and development of facilities. o Overall, space available for lease in Function Junction remains limited, while there is approximately 8,000 square feet of vacant retail space in the Village/Village North area.