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Dave Kirk said Melamed’s comments were partially correct, and that the present and previous councils had done a good job recognizing the need for employee housing.

"We have spent the $6 million in the housing fund," Kirk said. "I would suggest we as the business community accept some responsibility. Are you prepared to invest out of your pockets, or are you going to wait for a private developer? That’s the challenge to the business community."

Ted Milner reiterated that council is "absolutely committed to employee housing, but nobody said anything before tonight."

Milner said Whistler was at a crossroads and has to be creative. The question is where and how to build employee housing.

"I think we need to sit down with the community, we need to do some talking."

Stephanie Sloan referred to the valley’s capacity issue and said: "We have to respect the cap. We have to respect the environment." She also called for town hall meetings to discuss a sustainability plan.

Nick Davies also challenged the business community, alluding to a John F. Kennedy’s quote and suggesting businesses and the chamber ask not what the municipality can do for them, but what they can do for the municipality.

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly had the final word and suggested there is "good news on the horizon. I think the Whistler 3 project will be back."

O’Reilly noted that with the recent change in provincial governments the municipality may get "new tools to meet some of the challenges." He also referred to the municipality’s recent work with Mount Currie and that with improvements to the bus system there will be greater employment opportunities for Mount Currie residents and Whistler businesses.

"As a community we’ve solved so many problems. We’ve played with the economic model, putting the cap on, and now we’re facing the consequences."

O’Reilly said it’s "been a lonely road for 12 years building employee housing." He said he hoped the employee housing fund can be replenished, through new financial tools provided in the Liberal government’s Community Charter, and the municipality can continue to work with landowners.

"Your message is clearly heard. We have to get immediate results, but we also have to stick with the plan," O’Reilly said.

 

Tuesday’s delegations and the packed council chambers were largely in response to concerns raised when Tim Regan’s Whistler 3 project was turned down at the April 30 council meeting.

On Wednesday, May 23, the municipality and Whistler Housing Authority board issued a joint statement "to clarify any misconceptions the public may have on the Whistler 3 comprehensive development strategy reviewed by council at their April 30 meeting…"