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Revised WSL housing agreements get first readings

WSL plans to build 58 units of employee housing on Cloudburst
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Whistler's mayor and council listen to a presentation from director of planning Mike Kirkegaard at the Sept. 7 council meeting.

Whistler’s mayor and council gave first three readings to amended housing agreement bylaws for two developments on Cloudburst Drive in Cheakamus at its Sept. 7 meeting.

The changes to the agreements for the Whistler Sport Legacies (WSL) developments at 1315 and 1345 Cloudburst Dr. come after WSL received financing from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for 100 per cent of the costs of the new development at 1315.

Approved by council in January 2020, WSL’s original plan was to move its athletes’ centre accommodation use from the existing townhouse development at 1345 Cloudburst to the new building at 1315, committing the townhouses to rental employee housing with a priority for essential services workers.

“This [CMHC] financing is for a 100-per-cent rental employee housing project precluding the contemplated transfer of the athletes’ centre accommodation from 1345 Cloudburst. This has resulted in the need to modify and replace the existing housing agreements/covenants,” said planning director Mike Kirkegaard in a report to council.

“The net effect is that the incremental employee housing commitment associated with the rezoning will be located in the new apartment building, with no change in the amount of employee housing that will be delivered.”

WSL plans to build 58 units of employee housing on the lot at 1315 Cloudburst (22 studio and 36 two-bedroom units).

Under the revised housing agreements, WSL can give priority to its employees, provided that a minimum of 20 units (or a combination of units with a total floor area of 1,200 square metres) are reserved for eligible employees from the community at large.

Essential service workers will be given priority for those units, followed by those on the Whistler Housing Authority waitlist and other employees of qualified businesses.

Maximum rents are set at $1,200 for studios and $2,100 for two-bedroom units (utilities included).

While the townhouses at 1345 will essentially revert to the existing athletes’ centre accommodation use, the new agreement “expressly recognizes and provides for” their use as employee housing when not in use by WSL staff (following the same priority as the units at 1315).

“I don’t think WSL wants empty units so I think they’re going to find whatever ways they can to make sure these units are occupied full-time, and they’ve got the priority list of who goes first and who goes second, so I think that’s really helpful,” said Councillor John Grills. “And I’m really happy to see other members of our community in the ground building housing. Welcome aboard.”