Today the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), through the new Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing, launched a new program aimed at matching business owners with property owners for workforce housing. The goal of the program is to help local business owners find stable accommodation for their workforce, while encouraging home owners with a streamlined, low risk option to earn rental income from their vacant properties.
This property rental program, Home Run – A matching program for property and business owners, will be administered by the Whistler Housing Authority and managed by their licensed property manager. Starting December 16, 2016, businesses and property owners can register for the matching program at whistlerhousing.ca.
“The WHA is very excited about this new employee housing initiative that will be a creative collaboration between the business community, Whistler property owners, the RMOW and the Whistler Housing Authority.”
“By providing property owners with the confidence and security that comes from signing a lease with a local business, we hope to add a number of stable housing options to Whistler’s housing supply,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “Given the demand for housing currently outstrips the available supply, the task force would also like to encourage all homeowners who have a vacant room, suite or property to seriously consider joining the matching program to help house our workforce.”
The Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing was created in the fall at the recommendation of RMOW staff to look for solutions to house our workforce and better understand Whistler’s housing dynamics. This new program was developed with input from various stakeholders on the task force, and is part of a broader program to address housing shortages.
“This program will ultimately help community members working in Whistler by creating the opportunity for more housing options that have not accessible so far,” added the Mayor. “Having our workforce housed is a priority toward ensuring quality of life as well as economic success, which benefits everyone.”
Compared to other North American mountain resort communities, Whistler does extremely well at housing its workforce within its boundaries. In 2015, approximately 79% of Whistler’s total workforce resided within the community. However, as the resort achieved record-breaking visitation levels in the last few seasons, Whistler is now experiencing a housing shortage for the additional workforce required to serve resort guests.
The Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing is also working on a number of actions to relieve the housing pressure, including:
- Increasing investigations and enforcement of property owners who illegally use their residential homes for tourist rentals.
- Planning for the launch of new business licensing for appropriately zoned properties to provide visitor accommodation.
- Constructing additional resident restricted rental housing through the Whistler Housing Authority.
Chief Administrative Officer Mike Furey presented updates on housing in Whistler to Council in October, and Council also approved terms of reference for the Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing. The Task Force membership includes representation from Whistler Housing Authority Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler, Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Community Services Society, Hotel Association of Whistler, Restaurant Association of Whistler, Real Estate Association of Whistler, Whistler Association of Retailers and Merchants as well as the two community members appointed by Council.