The gorillas in the room... 

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Whistler Blackcomb wants to know. While not specifically asking the cap be raised, they've nonetheless brought up an interesting question. Say, hypothetically, the cap was to be raised. How would those new bed units be allocated? Who'd get them? The MotherCorp wants to make sure their contribution to the development of Whistler is recognized and they'd be, if not first, very near the front of the line.

Now, on the face of it, that doesn't seem like an unreasonable ask. But it raises a most interesting question. How exactly would the cap be raised if the cap were to be raised? The most likely scenario would be a developer would come to the table with a proposal we couldn't refuse. Something so desirable, so mouthwatering, so tantalizing we'd lift our cap to make it a reality.

Yet, the nature of WB's request presupposes a different scenario. Something more along the lines of a future council deciding to raise the cap to, say, 70,000 bed units and selling off the development rights to those extra beds to developers in much the same way companies float share issues or sell bonds.

The other gorilla came to the meeting in a gown and mortarboard. Whistler International Campus — and forgive me but I'll probably always call it WhistlerU — paid homage to the myth but wanted to qualify it, which is a derivative function of the developer coming to the table with an offer we can't refuse.

Their qualification? Student accommodation. After all, what's a university without students? And where would students live if not in dormitories and other forms of student accommodation. Problem is — and it's only one of the problems with WhistlerU — is there's no bed cap allocation for 1,000-1,500 students, each one of whom needs a bed while they're matriculating.

Would student beds be like resident-restricted beds, which is to say outside the cap? Resident-restricted beds are meant to house employees and retirees, both of whom are, or have been, vital to making the town successful. Housing them is a specific, strategic goal of the municipality. Students are, axiomatically, vital to making a university work, although the same cannot necessarily be said to be true about universities making students work. The municipality has no current position on supporting a university. But I digress.

The purpose of the OCP, and I'm lifting this right out of the document itself, " to guide decisions on planning and land use management for the resort community over the next 5-10 years and beyond (my italics) in support of our Whistler2020 vision: To be the premier mountain resort community — as we move toward sustainability."


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