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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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It’s going to be a very interesting planning exercise to sort out how we meet our present demand and still take advantage of the opportunity afforded by the Olympics…

(Another way to address the problem is) the (subdivision) policy that I’ve proposed.…. We think that if the policy that I’m proposing is adopted, that there’s somewhere between 20 and 100 people in the community who’re going to do the same thing and will have the potential to do the same thing.

( Davies currently has a proposal before council, which if approved, would see his Alpine Meadows residential lot subdivided into two lots, one as a market lot and the other with an employee restriction which requires that it be owned by an employee.)

Then there’s the opportunity with road ends (as identified in the housing report) and that sort of thing to create some homes.

And then we could look at a project type development. …If we’re going to do a project type development, it’s time to think out of the box and say to ourselves "OK, if we want to be a sustainable community, do we really need to build row townhouses where people pull right up to the front of their front door and parallel park?"

Q: The municipality has hired consultants to do a needs analysis of housing in Whistler. At the same time the WHA now has $5 million in its fund, there’s a 300-acre land bank for housing and the waitlist is the highest it’s ever been. Is there a will at municipal hall to provide the housing?

A: I think there’s a will in the hall. There’s certainly a will at council. And that’s demonstrated by some of the comments that we’re making around the council table about the fact that we need to get on with this….

At a staff level, staff is very anxious to get on with this and they are very anxious to get on with this in two senses. Many of our staff would like to have an ownership opportunity in the community they work in and so they are the types of people that could take advantage of the opportunities we’re talking about creating. So they’re anxious to get on with it in a personal sense.