Continuing the theme of why government is so ineffective on housing, great letter from Mike Roger last week (Pique, Oct. 13, “Whistler’s housing approach the ‘definition of insanity’”). I agree the insane nightmare of Whistler housing will not change if we elect the same council to do the same thing over and over again. A recurring theme from letter writers is perceived council self-interest that keeps policy in place to push up housing cost. Is it the NIMBYs who elect a NIMBY council? I have not seen anyone from council respond as to why they are so ineffective on housing—how about council weighing in here?
The solution is simple: if demand is greater than supply, prices go up. Increasing supply is the only solution (unless you want to make Whistler an unattractive place so demand goes down). Here are some of the things that limit supply: overly restrictive zoning, excessive permitting delays, giant development cost charges, demands for donations of land and units to Whistler, blah blah, we have heard it all before. Let developers make a profit and they will fix the problem for you.
Sure, we want Whistler to remain attractive. Don’t lose sight of that. But open up some land and apply for the promised infrastructure funding from the province. How about developing the municipal works yard, a great flat, serviced site between Creekside and Whistler Village that is currently used for storing dirt and burned-out cars? A perfect place for high-density employee housing that does not force residents to drive a car.
If we can get to a balance between supply and demand, prices will revert to the actual cost of housing and we won’t have to subsidize it. We should be talking about affordable market housing.