Since being elected as a civilian member of the Whistler Housing Authority in 2012 and then being appointed by the Mayor to the board in 2014, I have learned a great deal about what it takes to build affordable housing. You need land. Preferably free land. You need steel and wood. You need developers, contractors, and labourers. You need money. Always money. And the costs never go down.
Previous councils saw that they could take all of these things and produce affordable housing for Whistler. These visionaries made magic happen when the prospect of hosting the Olympics came to town, and boy, did they deliver!
Whistler 2010 Development Corp, a group of volunteers that were brought together in 2007 with a mandate of envisioning, planning, executing a new neighbourhood on the old Whistler landfill. The neighbourhood would be athletes’ housing for the 2010 Winter Olympics from November 2009 until April 2010. Then, that board of volunteers, comprised of builders, developers and Whistler’s dreamers would re-fit those units to become Whistler’s newest community of affordable mixed family ownership and rental housing. What a task!
In the past eleven years, the board has tried to retire the debt left owing to the RMOW. They were given the remainder of the legacy land to pay off that debt and plan for the future work required. We have been tasked with delivering again… we need to get there. We cannot lose momentum by putting anything on hold.