Whistler life: Cost vs. Value… 

Whistler2020 Sustainability Coordinator

It was late fall 1992 when I rolled into this great valley to be a newspaper reporter - bright-eyed, bushy tailed and broke. The hottest topic in the village was how much it cost to live in Whistler. Whistler's hottest topic in 2009 is the same as it was in 1992...

Times they are not a changin'.

What has changed since 1992 is this community has created, embraced and implemented Whistler2020; a plan, process and collective roadmap to the future Whistler aspires to. Born in a challenging economic time - how quickly the current crisis has allowed us to forget that of 1999-2000 - Whistler2020 is the tool which enables everyone who cares about Whistler to put forward positive solutions to make this community the most resilient, liveable place possible. And we do it together.

On April 2, over 160 Whistler residents convened in the Atrium of the Telus Whistler Conference Centre for Apres in Action to kick off the annual Whistler2020 community task force process. Based on the kitchen table conversations that often come up with the best solutions to current problems, Apres in Action saw dozens of Whistlerites convene around tables titled "The Costs of Life" and other hot topics. Their passion for this community and their ability to positively envision solutions was astounding. If you want to hear their suggestions, I'll see you May 7... Read on budding community task force member.

The tool Whistler residents designed to create affordability actions and recommend them into the community for implementation is the Whistler2020 Resident Affordability Strategy and community task force.

The Resident Affordability Strategy - and the connected community task force - is concerned with making living and playing in Whistler more affordable for community members. It does not include the affordability of housing or the viability of businesses, as these are addressed in the Resident Housing Strategy and Economic Strategy respectively. The strategy is directed toward full-time residents, seasonal employees and employees commuting from Pemberton and Squamish, but does not address affordability for resort visitors or second homeowners specifically.

In the past five years the Resident Affordability community task force has recommended over 40 actions to make Whistler more liveable, affordable and attractive to all citizens, whether you have been here five generations or five minutes. But, even though "The Costs of Life" remains Whistler's hottest topic on an annual basis, we need more folks on the Resident Affordability community task force.

Come on Whistler, buck up. You can't make a withdrawal from the complaint bank unless you are willing to invest a little positive interest.

Want to help get the Whistler Community Services Society's Bulk Food Buying Club off the ground? How about working with your fellow citizens to take the heat our of Whistler's Hottest Topic? All Whistler citizens - young and old, passionate or inquisitive - are invited to join the Resident Affordability community task force. Our next action planning session is set for Thursday, May 7, 2009. Healthy lunch provided.

If enough folks care to get involved in developing active solutions in support of the Whistler2020 Resident Affordability Strategy the value of Whistler life will continue to be priceless. The costs, well we can work together on that.

To become part of the Whistler2020 Resident affordability community task force e-mail kdamaskie@whistler.ca

Whistler2020 Resident Affordability Strategy Description of Success

In 2020, residents are able to afford the time, products and services that enable them to enjoy the lifestyle that Whistler has to offer. At this time:

• Income and innovative benefits help make it affordable to live and play in Whistler

• Residents have access to affordable goods and services that meet their needs

• Diverse and affordable opportunities for recreation, leisure, arts and culture exist

• A buy-local culture helps to circulate wealth within Whistler and the region

• Products and services offered to meet residents' needs move continuously toward meeting our sustainability objectives.


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