Report assesses current and anticipated housing needs over the next five years
In 2019, the Province of B.C. established a requirement that all municipalities and regional districts complete a Housing Needs Report to assess their community’s current housing needs as well as their anticipated housing needs over the next five years.
At the May 10 meeting, Council received Whistler’s first Housing Needs Report. Intended to provide insight into Whistler’s current and future housing needs, the report considers available quantitative and qualitative information including local demographics, household income, housing inventory, and other local factors. While the report is intended for information purposes only, it will support future housing policy decisions by the municipality and other community stakeholders.
Whistler’s report examines and reports out on a combination of statistical data – from sources such as Whistler’s Community Life Survey, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), BC Housing, the RMOW 2021 Housing Survey, and the 2016 Census data – together with insights from local community stakeholders. Key analyses will be updated with data from the 2021 Census once available.
How the Housing Needs Report shapes existing and planned housing initiatives
While this is the municipality’s first official Housing Needs Report, it is far from the first analysis done on housing needs in Whistler. The Housing Needs Report builds upon many years of ongoing work that has been undertaken relating to Whistler’s housing needs, including the 2016 Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing, the Balance Model Initiative that is currently in progress and complimentary work completed under the Whistler Housing Authority. The Balance Model Initiative aims to understand the resort’s performance and potential housing needs in the future as population evolves over time.
There are a number of recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force that are currently being implemented to increase the supply of affordable housing available to Whistler’s workforce, both public and private developments which together are currently projected to add over 500 new employee-restricted dwellings and are anticipated to significantly support the needs identified in this report.
The report is based on an analysis of households in Whistler who are said to be in core housing need. Core Housing Need is a 2-stage indicator to identify households that would need financial assistance to secure acceptable housing.
For Whistler, core housing needs are mostly driven by affordability affecting those in rental housing, in particular low income and vulnerable persons and families. Whistler has a very limited supply of purpose-built rental homes, leaving these groups, which are all growing in number, to compete for declining private market rentals.
“The Housing Needs Report is an additional tool in our tool belt to help guide our work addressing the housing crisis,” said Mayor Jack Crompton. “The report, along with the framework created by the 2016 Mayor’s Task Force for Housing, and the forthcoming Balance Model Initiative will inform a defined, data-driven plan for improving the affordability and availability of housing in Whistler. There is much more to do but it’s a step in the right direction”
For more information, visit whistler.ca/HousingNeedsReport.