Changes to home purchase waitlist eligibility: WHA 

Briefs: New bus service runs from Vancouver to region's parks; Canada Post-CUPW talks ongoing

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The Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) announced changes in eligibility to its real-estate purchase waitlist meant to better align with the organization's mandate.

Last month, the WHA board voted to eliminate a clause that permitted waitlist applicants to retain real estate valued at no more than 70 per cent of the purchase price of the resident-restricted unit they were applying to buy. The change goes into effect July 1, 2017.

"The rationale for the restriction on owning other real estate relates to an objective of (the WHA) to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for our local employees who are participating in and contributing to the local economy but (who), aside from having access to resident-restricted housing, would otherwise not be able to enter into the home-ownership market in Whistler," said WHA general manager Marla Zucht in an email.

The updated eligibility requirements aren't expected to have a major impact on the current waitlist, Zucht said, affecting just 13 applicants. The WHA's purchase waitlist sits at 513.

Applicants who enter into an agreement to purchase a WHA unit up until June 30, 2017 will not have to sell their other real estate under the previous clause. As of July 1, 2017, however, applicants can remain on the purchase waitlist as owners of other real estate provided they commit to selling the property within six months of buying a WHA unit.

For more information, contact the WHA at mail@whistlerhousing.ca.

bus service connects Vancouver to Sea to Sky provincial parks

A new express bus service will bring outdoor enthusiasts from Vancouver to the provincial parks along the Sea to Sky Highway this summer.

The day trips will run from multiple locations in Vancouver to Garibaldi, Alice Lake, Shannon Falls and Stawamus Chief provincial parks. For now, the pilot project is only for two days: Aug. 20 and Sept. 10, but with "a phenomenal response" so far, Ontario non-profit ParkBus plans to add more trips this summer and, if all goes well, turn it into a regular route.

"The idea came to us after... visiting the region and seeing there were excellent transportation options available between, let's say, Vancouver and Whistler and Vancouver and Squamish, but there isn't really anything going to provincial parks," explained ParkBus co-founder Boris Issaev. "And with so many people in Vancouver living without cars, it just makes so much sense. Plus you've got tourists, you've got people that love the outdoors, so I think it's very logical to have something running specifically to provincial parks."

Run in partnership with BC Parks and the Mountain Equipment Co-op, the buses will be staffed with volunteer ambassadors who will educate passengers on their physical surroundings and offer tips on camping and other outdoor activities.

Each bus will seat 38 passengers and cost $44 for adults, $40 for students and seniors, and $22 for children.

Issaev said the intention is not to compete with existing bus operators in the Sea to Sky, but bring more recreationalists to the outdoors.

To book, or for more information, visit www.parkbus.ca.

Canada Post-CUPW Talks continue

Postal service will not stop as talks continue between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

On July 10, Canada Post said it had withdrawn its 72-hour lockout notice, and on July 11 the CUPW issued a release saying it also had no plans to issue a strike notice.

"Negotiations are continuing in an effort to achieve new collective agreements... The parties are working long hours to achieve this goal," the CUPW release said.

The two sides have been in discussions since late 2015, with 60 days of conciliation and almost 30 more with federal mediators, but remain far apart on key issues.

Canada Post originally said it would lock out its 50,000 unionized employees if an agreement wasn't reached by Friday, July 8. The deadline was extended to July 11 before being withdrawn.

Should a strike or lockout occur, the provincial Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services has contingency plans in place to make sure British Columbians continue to receive cheques and critical documents.

— Braden Dupuis

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