The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has approved rezoning of municipally owned lands at 1310 Cloudburst Drive to enable the development of a multi -unit Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) resident restricted rental apartment building in the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood.
The proposed three-storey rental apartment building is anticipated to include 27 dwelling units providing a maximum of 100 new employee beds.
In 2016, the WHA plans to partner with local employers to secure long-term lease commitments for the new units for their employees, thereby providing local businesses with the opportunity to secure housing options for their staff. It is anticipated that the new employee rental beds will be completed and ready for occupancy early in 2017.
“Resident satisfaction and affordability are Council priorities, and I am happy to see this project moving ahead.” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “Rezoning this property is a milestone for current and future resident housing development to continue to meet the needs of Whistler employees.”
Marla Zucht, General Manager of WHA said, “Whistler has taken laudable strides in the provision of housing for the resident workforce and is continually regarded as a community that has achieved tangible success in finding innovative ways to affordably house our community’s employees. These new resident restricted beds will help further ensure that Whistler continues to remain on target of achieving the community’s shared goal of housing at least 75 per cent of our workforce within our municipal boundaries.“
In 2015, the WHA completed a housing feasibility study, which along with data from the WHA’s annual housing needs assessment, highlighted the need for more resident restricted rental housing in Whistler.
Since 2008, the primary focus for new resident restricted housing development in Whistler has been on homeownership units for the local workforce. Affordable homeownership represents 62 per cent of Whistler’s total current resident restricted housing inventory, while rental housing represents 38 per cent.
Council supported the Whistler Housing Authority's recommendation to develop a new resident restricted housing development in Cheakamus Crossing in September, and a public hearing for the rezoning bylaw was held on December 15, 2015.
The rezoning was required to create a two-lot subdivision. One lot will be used for the proposed rental apartment building and the other lot will be reserved for a future residential development.
About the Whistler Housing Authority
The Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) is an independent municipally owned corporation of the Resort Municipality of Whistle created to oversee the development, administration and management of resident restricted housing in Whistler. Embracing the goal of housing at least 75 per cent of employees locally within Whistler, the WHA continues to maintain and augment its inventory of resident restricted housing so that both long-term rental and ownership accommodations are available and affordable for local income earners and retirees in perpetuity.
Whistler is one of only a few resort communities in North America with an organization such as the Whistler Housing Authority that has such a robust inventory and community-entrenched resident housing program. Whistler is considered a world leader in this respect and is contacted regularly by other communities to learn about Whistler’s resident housing model.