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The once and future housing solution

New chair Nick Davies discusses the opportunities, priorities and directions for the Whistler Housing Authority

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The bigger issues I’m satisfied that that’s moving ahead at pace because when you’ve got 300 acres of land, you really do have to figure out where that fits into the community and how quickly we develop it. And that’s all part of the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan.

Q: You’ve said in the past that the media tends to inflate Whistler’s housing problems as a "crisis" situation. With a waitlist of 400 applicants, do you think there’s a crisis?

A: I suppose in a way it’s a matter of public perception more than anything. How do you say that 200 (applicants) is not a crisis but 400 (applicants) is a crisis? I think it’s a crisis when either people start to get impatient and they say "you know what, you politicians and you people at the housing authority, you’re not doing your job." When people get upset and unhappy, it becomes a crisis.

Or when we see it in an economic sense, when people start to leave town because of it. They want to own something and they’ve had it with waiting and they start to leave town, then we have a crisis. And I don’t think we’re there yet.

But if we don’t get going on this and do something, we’re going to be there because I think people are going to very quickly look and say "you guys have got a bunch of money and you’ve got land opportunities, you’ve got a bunch of people waiting, we’re upset. What are you going to do?"

I’m not prepared to call it a crisis but I’m concerned. We ought to be doing something. Five million dollars and land and a market of 400 people, there’s no excuse for not doing something.

Q: This council, when elected almost two years ago, promised to deliver 500 employee beds by the end of their term. How many do you think will be delivered in the next 14 months?

A: The answer at this point is: I have no idea.

And that’s part of the frustration I think on behalf of the housing authority and some councillors and the public… we’ve got a chair of the housing authority saying "I have no idea" when I could be saying "well we’re going to do this and we’re going to do that because we have the land and we have the money." We’ve just got to get on with it.