Whistler residents who applied to be on the Whistler Housing Authority's annual purchase waitlist, a largely chronological ranking of applicants for resident-restricted housing, will pay higher fees for the service but can expect more bang for their buck.
Fees will rise from $25 to $50 in 2011 and will reach $100 in 2012. They will cover online access to project plans, unit photos and a more comprehensive property listing page.
"This fee helps to cover some of the staff time required in maintaining the waitlist applications and associated resale services," reads a press release from WHA General Manager Marla Zucht.
"In addition to providing service revenue, the waitlist participation fee has also acted as a tool to help deter waitlist applicants no longer engaged in the Resident Housing purchase process from remaining on the WHA purchase waitlist. With 350 applicants currently on the purchase waitlist, wait times to purchase a resident restricted unit should now be drastically reduced from prior years."
Of 638 residents who applied to be waitlisted for housing in 2011, 55 per cent remain. Nearly 300 applicants were removed for not meeting waitlist criteria, which includes being a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant over the age of 18 who works at least 20 hours per week for a business located within municipal boundaries.
WHA manages 850 resident-restricted units for the municipality and offers a priority to owners of resident-restricted property hoping to trade their current unit for a smaller or larger one. Of the waitlisted applicants for 2011, 45 per cent already live in WHA housing, 40 per cent are currently renting in Whistler, and 15 per cent are spread between WHA rentals and people living in Pemberton, Squamish or a Whistler property.
The WHA recently opted to remove a three-strike policy originally instated to improve the accuracy of the waitlist. The organization scrapped the rule earlier this year in favour of alternative methods and improved online capabilities.
"Taking into consideration the flexibility now provided through the WHA website's on-line membership section and putting into action the feedback received from the 2010 Resident Housing Survey, the WHA has decided to eliminate the three strike waitlist policy," continued Zucht's press release. "While in previous years the three strike waitlist policy had worked effectively to help support the accuracy of the purchase waitlist, newer tools and services have now made this policy redundant."
Other improvements slated for 2011 include the creation of virtual video tours of all resident-restricted projects and additional resources for new applicants, purchasers and sellers.