Fifty resident-restricted dwellings expected to be created over 5 years
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) Council approved a strategy at the March 6 Council meeting, to advance the sixth recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing (Task Force) to promote infill housing. The strategy anticipates policy and bylaw changes that will enable eligible residential property owners to develop a number of different infill housing types including stratified suites, additional suites, small lot subdivisions and duplexes.
Recent findings show that a variety of housing types and rental and ownership opportunities should be made available to reflect a range of Whistler residents’ household incomes, demographics and housing needs. “New data from Statistics Canada presented to Council reinforces the diverse housing needs of the Whistler Community. The ongoing refinement of housing offerings is important to provide affordable housing for employees,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. The Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation defines affordable housing as shelter that accounts for less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income.
The goal of the infill housing program is to create 50 new resident-restricted dwelling units within the next five years.
The infill program strategy aims to create additional employee housing by:
- Permitting stratification of new or existing detached and attached suites
- Permitting the subdivision of larger lots,
- Expanding areas where duplexes are permitted
- Allowing a maximum of two suites, attached or detached on certain single-family properties
The project will also include a review of bed unit and employee housing restrictions related to infill housing.
Policies and bylaws are expected to be tabled for Council consideration in early 2019 and there will be opportunities for the public to provide feedback throughout the project. Municipal staff will collaborate with a working group–made up of internal and external specialists and stakeholders, including property owners, realtors and builders–to consider all aspects of the infill housing strategy, including infrastructure and growth management.
The Infill Housing Initiative is one of the Task Force recommendations that are expected to add a total of 1,000 resident-restricted beds over the next 5 years. The development of a number of resident-restricted buildings are currently underway, including plans for the expansion of the Cheakamus Crossing neighborhood by the RMOW, Whistler Development Corporation and the Whistler Housing Authority. Preliminary work was completed in 2017, including development analysis and draft designs. Detailed concept and site service plans, development financials and building designs for the lower Cheakamus sites are underway this year.
Other in-progress initiatives to alleviate housing pressures include updating the Employee Housing Service Charge Bylaw, and developing resident restricted rentals on private lands. Eligibility criteria for resident-restricted housing will be reviewed later this year. Through the Whistler Housing Authority, more than 206 employee rental beds were created in 2017, with another 160 beds expected to be added before the end of this year.
About the Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing
The Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing is a committee of Council established in November 2016, charged with the objective to address the increased demand for resident housing in Whistler. After extensive community consultation, actions were established to optimize the current housing supply and identify additional housing initiatives to overcome the current challenges. The Task Force’s primary objective is to maintain Whistler’s target of housing 75 per cent of its workforce locally, by ensuring appropriate and affordable housing supply for both permanent and seasonal staff, through the creation of flexible and diverse housing options. Learn more: whistler.ca/housing.