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temp housing

There are a couple of slim possibilities some type of temporary affordable housing may still be available this winter, but the chair of the Whistler Valley Housing Society isn’t counting on them. "I don’t think we’re going to see anything this year," Councillor Max Kirkpatrick says. The prospects for permanent affordable housing being built next year look good, but the housing situation this winter — which will see at least 40 more businesses than were here last winter — looks bleak. "I started nine months ago and ran into brick walls. It’s been an uphill battle all the way," says Kirkpatrick. "I was considering resigning as chair — staying on as a board member — but resigning as chair of the Housing Society because a councillor just may not be effective as chair." The Housing Society and council had hoped two temporary trailer camps would provide some additional affordable housing this winter, but both proponents withdrew their proposals prior to Tuesday’s public hearing. Ann Chiasson of Whistler Rainbow Properties says the decision to withdraw their proposal, which would have added nearly 300 beds, was "purely financial." Prospero International Realty, which had proposed approximately 84 beds in trailers on land immediately south of Alpine Meadows, withdrew their proposal in the wake of opposition by residents of Alpine, who formed the New Alta Lake Ratepayers Association. Kirkpatrick says he is now talking with both proponents about bringing forward proposals for permanent affordable housing projects. If those proposals do come forward there could be several affordable housing projects built next summer. The Housing Society recently tendered plans to construct approximately 90 affordable beds in a townhouse development in Millar's Pond. If Greenside Properties succeeds in its protracted court battle to acquire the Whistler Campground lands it will bring on at least 17 "affordable" single family lots next year. As well, both Blackcomb and Whistler have indicated they intend to build additional staff housing next summer. But even if the above projects all go ahead there may still be a shortage of affordable housing next winter, because of the drastic shortfall this winter and because next summer will see at least as much construction — and as many new businesses — as occurred this summer. "We've got to get through this winter and then come out of it with an action plan," Kirkpatrick says. "We've got to get people thinking and talking and dealing with this problem."

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