housing call 

The municipality is prepared to dip into its employee housing fund and will consider offers for sale of land as part of its affordable housing proposal call. Preliminary terms of another call for affordable housing proposals were reviewed by council Tuesday. The Whistler Valley Housing Society is meeting Sunday to review the document and will forward comments to council for Monday’s meeting, where the housing call is expected to be officially made. This is the first time council has announced it will consider buying land separate from housing proposals. Proposals for five or six affordable housing projects that don’t require the municipality to purchase land are also expected to come in. Several council members expressed a desire to make it known within the proposal call that housing for seasonal employees is a priority. Affordable housing for permanent residents is a secondary concern this year. While council seemed to generally favour the terms of the proposal call, Councillor Max Kirkpatrick said later the Whistler Valley Housing Society is not pleased the municipality is going this route. "They’re mad as hell. They’ll probably resign en masse," Kirkpatrick said. "Greenside’s dealing with a proposal call from 1990 — and now we’re doing another one?" Kirkpatrick said council already knows who will likely respond to the proposal call. Meanwhile, Mike Vance, director of planning, pointed out in his report to council that under terms of a policy council adopted in March the maximum number of affordable housing bed units the municipality can award this year is 700. The Cheakamus North affordable housing proposal, which will be submitted under the proposal call, has plans for 1,100 bed units, although not all would be built in one year. The limit to affordable housing was set in March when council decided the maximum number of bed units allocated for such projects should not exceed the amount of bed units for which employee service charges have been paid; that is, the cash-in-lieu of providing housing that most developers have opted for in recent years. At the same time that policy was adopted council recommended that the actual number of bed units to be considered in 1996 not exceed 60-70 per cent of the number of employees generated under the employee service bylaw. The idea was it would allow council and the housing society to review community needs and provide for additional community input at the time of the next proposal call. Vance told council this week the actual number of employees generated by commercial development over last five years is approximately 2,500. However, the employee works and services bylaw charges only 40 per cent of actual employees generated, which equates to 1,000 employees. Therefore, under the policy passed in March, the number of bed units that can be allocated under the current proposal call should not exceed 600-700. Developments that provide their own housing are not included in the total. Housing projects developed by Whistler or Blackcomb for their staff are also not included in the 600-700 total.


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