With construction, population, housing prices and visitors all up substantially over last year, the state of Whistler in 1996 is the subject of discussion at Sunday’s Town Hall meeting at Myrtle Philip Community School. The annual meeting, including workshops on issues facing Whistler, gets underway at 2 p.m. and continues through to 5 p.m. All are invited. From noon to 2 p.m. municipal staff will host an open house with information displays. However, the 12 affordable housing proposals submitted under the municipality’s call for affordable housing proposals will not be on display. Municipal staff plan to hold an open house specifically for the housing proposals some time in the next few weeks. Some selected results from the 1996 Monitoring Program: o The total value of Whistler construction (based on permits) to October 1996 was $178,448,844, the highest value ever. By the end of this year construction values are estimated to be about 75 per cent higher than 1995’s total of $102,760,464. Construction values in 1995 were 22 per cent higher than in 1994. o Whistler’s crime rate (based on crimes per 1,000 population) has been generally dropping since 1991. In 1995 all kinds of crime in Whistler dropped, with the exception of drug offences and fraud offences. o In May of 1996, for the first time in recent history, Whistler’s unemployment rate fell below that of the province. o Whistler’s 1996 population is estimated at 7,400, up 9.8 per cent from last year’s estimated population of 6,700. The average age of Whistler’s population is 28. o The estimated population at buildout will range from 10,500 to 13,000. The estimate has a large range because it is difficult to estimate how many second home owners will move to Whistler full-time. However, based on a 1995 survey, 27 per cent of second homeowners plan to move to or retire to Whistler. o To the second quarter of 1996 the average price of single family lots was $321,215 and the average price of a detached home was $483,659, an increase of 27.6 per cent from 1994. o The occupancy rates for accommodation in both summer and winter dropped from the 1994/95 season to the 1995/96 season, but the number of rooms sold increased by 6 per cent. o In the past four years the number of visitors to the resort has increased by an annual average of 7.7 per cent, slightly below the growth in tourist bed development (7.9 per cent) but well under the rate of development of commercial space (11 per cent). o There were 249 new businesses licences issued in 1995.