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Pique N' Your Interest

Employee housing saga Part II



Wow, have you noticed the reaction since we last spoke about this wonderfully annoying phenomenon we have here?

There’s been several more letters about employee housing. Sixteen families around Tapley’s Farm even sent a letter to the mayor asking for the council to stay calm in light of the "political pressure" for more employee housing.

Then the mayor said the council was now working harder on some opportunities, which have actually been around for years.

I can also tell you that some very experienced Whistlerites have sent some other letters to my private e-mail.

These people were keen to keep their views confidential, mostly, because they didn’t want to be seen commenting about anything that involved race/gender profiling, which I told you about a month ago.

I would now like to anonymously share some of these views so you can: a.) get a better understanding of the issue; b.) write more letters and send some more recommendations to council, and the WHA, or whomever else you think might be able to alleviate this ongoing problem.

I left my last story with the notion that I’d like council to approve more employee housing sooner rather than later. And I still believe this is something that should happen but it’s really only a band-aid response.

The whole purpose of that first article was to prove, beyond any doubt, that the housing situation is very bad, it’s ongoing and it’s in your face. The fact is that it will always be difficult to find a place to live in the lead up to winter, that’s why many workers arrive in September.

But life is not black and white – sometimes relatives die unexpectedly, visas get held up, flights get cancelled and banks freeze accounts for no reason.

So, for whatever reason, sometimes good people arrive in Whistler in late October, early November.

If they’re serious, these people find jobs, regardless of how hard it is and, in a perfect world, this is also when their mission to find a house should also be resolved.

Because the housing situation here is so bad at the start of winter, anyone who employs anyone in this area should also be providing housing.

"As a new boy in town, try to remember this problem has existed for more than 35 years at Whistler," one Whistlerite said in a personal e-mail.

"In the old days there was no such thing as Employee or so-called Affordable Housing. The business owners would purchase condos and houses and rent them to their staff at ‘affordable’ rates.