WHA wrapping 18th housing assessment 

Businesses can participate until midnight on june 4By Braden Dupuis

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - Calling out Whistler Housing Authority general manager Marla Zucht is hoping as many local businesses as possible will take part in the 18th annual Housing Needs Assessment this year.
  • file photo
  • Calling out Whistler Housing Authority general manager Marla Zucht is hoping as many local businesses as possible will take part in the 18th annual Housing Needs Assessment this year.

Time is running out for businesses hoping to take part in the Whistler Housing Authority's (WHA) 18th annual Housing Needs Assessment — the deadline for submissions is midnight on June 4 — but the WHA might swing back around for those who miss the boat.

"After the first callout to the businesses we usually end up having to go back and collect again for additional businesses that haven't reported in," said WHA general manager Marla Zucht.

"So we don't end up getting our report actually finalized probably until July or August, and then we typically will report it out to municipal council either in August or September."

Getting as many businesses as possible to participate is important for the WHA, Zucht said.

"It's definitely one of our demand indicators for, you know, do we need new housing? How many employees are able to live here?" she said.

"It ends up compiling and being a fairly significant metric for us."

One of the most important statistics captured through the survey each year is the percentage of employees currently residing within municipal boundaries, Zucht said.

Whistler has a community goal of housing a minimum of 75 per cent of the local workforce within the municipality.

"As of last year's report we were housing 81 per cent of the local workforce within municipal boundaries," Zucht said. "We're doing a great job of being able to keep our employees living locally here and not having to commute too far to work."

While this year's results won't be known until the end of the summer, Zucht said the number of employees living in town has stayed remarkably consistent over the 18 years of the survey.

"Something we've seen a dip in is the percentage of businesses that do supply staff housing, so we're hoping that we'll see that turn around in the next few years," she said.

"But as far as the number of employees living locally, that one has remained fairly constant, and we've been able to stay above our community goal which we're pleased with."

Val Litwin, CEO of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, said he is happy with the relationship between the WHA and the Chamber.

"I just think it's terrific the deep consultation WHA is having with the business community, and Marla and her team have been excellent at listening to what the business community needs," Litwin said.

"We're looking forward to seeing what conclusions they come to."

The collaboration seen between the WHA and the chamber is an example of what makes Whistler special, Litwin said.

"I think as a community we're very good at collaborating and consulting with one another, and I think when you live in such a small town collaboration between all the organizations is key to sustainable success," he said. "The WHA has been terrific in terms of its conversations with the chamber and reaching out for insight."

The assessment can be found online at www.intervistas.2015-whistler-housing-needs-assessment.sgizmo.com/s3/.

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