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Alpine residents dig in to oppose 'mining camp' About 40 concerned Alpine Meadows residents gathered in a meeting room in the Whistler Health Care Centre last weekend to formulate a plan to oppose the installation of an 84-unit trailer development dubbed Bear Ridge just south of Alpine Meadows. The Alpine residents — ranging from upset to irate — stressed they were not opposed to finding a solution to Whistler's housing crisis, but they were staunchly against a "temporary solution" that would have a trailer site much like a mining camp set up at the end of a residential subdivision. While the residents were brainstorming to come with a strategy to pack the house at Tuesday's public hearing on the matter, Councillor Max Kirkpatrick wandered into the meeting. Kirkpatrick, who is also chair of the Whistler Valley Housing Society, told the crowd the feelings are very strong against any type of trailer court at the south end of Rainbow Drive. "I'm not here to discuss fairness, I'm here to discuss solutions," Kirkpatrick said. "We've finally got somebody to realize we have a major housing problem on our hands. We've had less than 90 days to put this whole thing together." The crowd jeered Kirkpatrick's statement. Many shouted that everyone in Whistler has been aware of the shortage of housing for years, yet two successive town councils have failed to address the situation. "We have got to be organized and we have got to be prepared to get up to the microphone at the public hearing if it takes four hours, because I know from experience a strong showing will get your message across," said former municipal councillor Gordon Tomalty. Paul Burrows, chair of the New Alta Lake Ratepayers Association, said there are without a doubt many potential employees in the valley who are in dire straits when it comes to affordable housing. But he said the new group feels a temporary solution is not the answer. He admitted the affair may smack of the Not In My Back Yard syndrome, but it's bigger than that. "This isn't about our back yards, it's about everybody in Whistler's back yard," said one Alpine resident. "I'd like to see what would happen if they tried to put this in Blueberry Hill. If you don't protect your own back yard the whole valley will go to hell pretty fast." Residents are worried about increased traffic on Rainbow Drive and the impact of a large population of young people living in very cramped quarters. Kirkpatrick said he could sense their worries. "I get the feeling you think these people are going to run down your street, rape your dogs, slash your tires and break your Christmas lights," he said.

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