On the idea to convert a portion of the Whistler Golf Course to staff housing:
First of all Ive got nothing against golf. Some of my best friends are golfers.
This isnt about golf, however, its about finding a sustainable way to keep employees in Whistler. The Callaghan Valley, no matter how handy some people claim it to be, is not Whistler.
This idea is a great one for so many reasons.
First of all, the Whistler Golf Course is operated by Tourism Whistler, and Tourism Whistler is owned by local businesses. Local businesses have said time and time again that they need new places to put their employees, and therefore they would probably support this idea by an overwhelming majority if it were put to a vote.
Secondly, Tourism Whistler would retain a nine hole executive course, something that is needed in the region. There are soon to be eight 18-hole courses in within a 45-minute drive of Whistler, but no nine hole courses. And lets face it, not everyone has five hours to play a round of golf.
Thirdly, if Tourism Whistler needs the income from the golf course to cover the costs of the conference centre, then maybe this idea will be better for Tourism Whistler in the long run.
A nine-hole executive course would still make money six months a year probably more than half of what the 18 hole course currently earns.
Tourism Whistler could also become the proxy landlord of all new rental properties on golf course lands. The Whistler Housing Authority would manage those properties, channelling a portion of the profits collected back to Tourism Whistler. That money would come in year-round, rather than spring to fall.
Tourism Whistler could also take control of the lands given to Whistler in the Callaghan and build another world class 18-hole course, possibly surrounded by trophy homes. It wouldnt require the infrastructure of new community.
With a little vision, it seems to me that Tourism Whistler could almost make more money in the long run.
Tourism Whistler should canvass its members on the idea over the winter, and if there is enough support then they should take the next step and commission a study to find out how financially viable it is.
The idea is now officially outed in Whistler. People are talking about, and writing letters to the editor on the subject. Nobody can pretend they didnt hear the idea, or shrug it off as one of those hippy paradise concepts that dont work in real life. Its not going away.