By Alison Taylor
After a series of roundtable discussions and forums for
community feedback, the Whistler Housing Authority is considering several
changes to its housing policies.
Chief among the proposed changes is the elimination of the five
per cent cap on annual price escalation on units under the new Core Consumer
“The argument (to remove the cap) being, if inflation goes
above five per cent then we shouldn’t be holding down the units,” WHA general
manager Marla Zucht said Tuesday after an eight-hour board of directors
But, she added, the proposed change to this policy and some
others, didn’t come easily.
“None of it was simple by any means,” she said.
“We heard both sides of the issue on all of these.”
The WHA and some of its policies came under attack this summer
after it proposed to remove the formula tying some housing projects to the
The WHA solution was that upon resale homes would switch to the
more conservative CCPI formula, which tied escalation to a modest two per cent,
depending on inflation. The WHA also imposed a five per cent cap.
Their goal was to combat the wildly escalating values of the
price restricted homes. But it caused a backlash in the community, which came
to a head at a meeting in July.
Since then, more than 100 community members have offered
feedback to the WHA, both in an online survey and at four separate roundtable
Removing the five per cent cap, while it could mean house
values soar if inflation jumps, is an attempt to assuage some of the worries in
the resident housing community.
Other changes the board has agreed to consider are relaxing the
three strike policy for waitlisters who are forced to go to the bottom of the
500-long waitlist if they refused three units.
The policy still applies but the WHA will consider exceptional
circumstances. For example, if someone is offered a WHA place but it’s more
than their mortgage pre-approval amount, a strike will not count against them.
“We are not there to create stress in people’s lives,” said
Zucht. “But we do want to get an indication of who’s serious and who’s not
The WHA is also considering changing
its rental restriction policy to give owners the
chance to rent their home for six months every year.
The one-year employment eligibility is also on the chopping
block to allow businesses to recruit employees with an added incentive they can
buy a price-restricted home in Whistler as long as they are working there.
And, the WHA is considering a policy to allow homes to be
transferred to heirs, as long as the children meet the eligibility requirements
in that they are working and living in Whistler.
The draft policy changes are available for review on the
housing authority’s web site at
. There will also be
a mail out to resident housing owners and waitlist applicants.
The WHA welcomes more feedback on the proposed changes by Dec. 15. Zucht will then take the final recommendations to council for approval in the new year.