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RMOW budgeting $10M for resident housing in 2021

What to watch for at Monday’s virtual budget open house
The Resort Municipality of Whistler is budgeting $10 million in 2021 as it moves ahead with Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2. Image courtesy of the RMOW.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is proposing to invest in housing in a big way next year.

Budget documents posted to ahead of Monday’s virtual open house show total proposed project spending is estimated to hit $54.9 million in 2021 (with about $3.77 million carried over from 2020).

While it’s a significant jump from the $39 million proposed in 2020, the figure is inflated by a whopping $10 million, single-year investment in resident-restricted housing.

Whistlerites are invited to tune in to the open house via Zoom on Monday, Nov. 16 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Attendees will hear presentations from staff and have an opportunity to ask questions as well as participate in breakout discussions.

According to budget documents, key focus areas for 2021 include: tourism recovery and community wellbeing; implementing the Big Moves Strategy on climate action; employee housing; First Nations relationships and community engagement.

Aside from housing, water and sewer infrastructure upgrades make up much of the proposed project spend, with $8.2 million budgeted in 2021 for sewer main upgrades (and a total $15.5 million budgeted from the sewer fund overall).

Other big proposed spends in 2021 include: $2.4 million for a Rainbow Park rejuvenation; $1.35 million for community wildfire protection; $1.7 million for village washroom buildings; $2.9 million for road upgrades; and $1.6 million for utility undergrounding projects in White Gold and Alta Vista (along with a further $9.9 million from 2022 to 2024).

A year ago, in first tabling the 2020-2024 budget, the RMOW‘s proposed project list included 162 projects, with a proposed budget cost of $39 million in 2020 (including up to $10 million carried over from 2019).

In May, as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on municipal revenue streams, council passed an amendment stripping $12.7 million from proposed project spending—but stayed the course on a planned 2.8-per-cent tax increase.

It remains to be seen how taxes will be impacted this year.

Check back with Pique for full coverage of the 2021 budget.