Housing a majority of the workforce in Whistler is essential to maintaining a vibrant and sustainable community. Ensuring that Whistler's employees have the opportunity to live locally enriches the social fabric of the community and contributes to the ongoing prosperity of the local economy.
About the immediate housing shortage
Whistler has seen strong economic growth in recent years. This growth has generated more than 1,000 additional jobs in the past two years however, it has also created a significant increase in demand for available housing in our community. Other factors that have put pressure on housing include a change of use in residential homes and increased demand for properties from second home-owners which have reduced the supply of homes for residents.
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 here. However, Whistler is currently experiencing another housing shortage and a task force has been created to address the issue.
Mayor's Task Force on Resident Housing
The Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing is a newly formed Select Committee of Council of local stakeholder organizations and community representatives–each in a unique position to contribute to the understanding, evaluation, planning and implementation of Whistler’s resident housing initiatives. Find out more here.
Task Force initiatives in progress
- Increasing investigations and enforcement of property owners who use their residential homes for tourist rentals illegally.
- Encouraging business owners to lease properties for their employees to help ensure they can recruit and retain their much needed staff for the season.
- Developing a new Rental Housing Program to connect home owners with vacant properties to leasing opportunities with local businesses for their staff.
- 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 (WHA).
Home Run – A matching program for property and business owners
The Mayor's Task Force on Resident Housing launched a new program to match business owners with property owners for workforce housing. 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. Home Run — A matching program for property and business owners is administered by the Whistler Housing Authority and managed by their licensed property manager, who manages the lease agreements on behalf of property owners. Business and property owners can register for the program at whistlerhousing.ca.
- Home Run allows homeowners to register their property (a home, condominium, a suite or bedroom) for short- or long-term rentals to a local business.
- Business owners will sign a lease agreement to accommodate their resident workforce.
What can you do to help now?
- Rent out your vacant space to a local employee: whether it be a room, suite, condo or house. Every extra bedroom will help create a home for our workforce for the winter.
- Encourage your friends and neighbours with unused residential space to consider renting it to a Whistler business.
- Ensure your property is zoned for temporary tourist accommodation if you are renting it out to tourists.
- Report illegal nightly tourist rental activities in residential neighbourhoods by contacting the Bylaw Services at 604-935-8280 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find out about Home Run, a matching program for property and business owners.
Find out if your home is zoned for long-term or nightly rental
If you own a property in Whistler and are considering renting it to tourists or visitors on a temporary basis, you may only do this if the land use regulations for your property (outlined in either your land use contract or zoning) permit you to do so.
For reference the zones and Land Use Contracts permit rentals to tourists on a temporary basis may be found here.
To check the land use regulations and allowable uses for a property, follow these steps:
- Click on this link for the RMOW’s GIS Interactive Mapping Tool
- Enter a property address or place the cursor over the property on the GIS map.
- If a zoning category is displayed, you can click on a link to take you directly to that zone in the zoning bylaw.
Check the zoning for your property against the reference list. A zone must include a Permitted Use that allows “temporary lodging”; these include hotel, inn, lodge, tourist accommodation, temporary accommodation, hostel, bed and breakfast, pension, recreational vehicle park, and campground.
GIS interactive mapping tool
Curious to learn more about a neighbourhood? Find assessed property values, street names, parcel outlines, legal descriptions and more on the GIS mapping tool.
About Whistler Housing Authority
For over 15 years, Whistler has been pioneering affordable housing and it's a model that is now in demand across the country. In 1997, the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) was established as an arm of the municipal government. Its mandate was to oversee the development of price-controlled real estate available to only resident employees and their families.
WHA oversees the development, administration and management of resident restricted housing in Whistler. The WHA continues to maintain and augment its inventory of resident restricted housing so that both rental and ownership accommodation are available and affordable for local income earners and retirees in perpetuity.
To date, 4,200 people have taken advantage of the program offered through the Whistler Housing Authority.
For more information on the Whistler Housing Authority and general information resources for tenants and landlords, visit www.whistlerhousing.ca.
Cheakamus Crossing: Whistler's Olympic neighbourhood
The Olympic and Paralympic Athletes’ Village in Whistler—otherwise known as Cheakamus Crossing—is one of the most tangible legacies of the 2010 Winter Games. Not only was it home to more than 3,500 athletes and officials during the Games, the neighbourhood now provides affordable housing to approximately 800 Whistler residents. Read more.
- Whistler's housing task force updates presented, March 13, 2017
- Additional lot to be transferred to Whistler Housing Authority to develop for rental housing, December 20, 2016
- Whistler announces new matching program for property and business owners, December 15, 2016
- Updates presented on resident housing, October 7, 2016