19 mile emotions 

19 Mile Creek stirs emotions While the technical issues surrounding the 19 Mile Creek employee housing project that were dealt with Monday night, there were also some emotions tied to the project. "I believe we’ve ended up with a better project because of the public input," Councillor Kristi Wells said, but added some of the public input "was just intended to find fault with the project." That kind of input may lead to the same end but "the divisions that have spilled over because of this are disgraceful," Wells said. Councillor Ken Melamed said employee housing was one of the issues the present council was elected to do something about, "but some residents have made this (project) extremely difficult." Melamed noted that several people have suggested voters will remember which councillors supported the 19 Mile Creek project at the next election, and those councillors may not be re-elected. He then referred to an employee housing project in Vail, part of a supermarket, that was one of the best projects Whistler councillors saw on their trip through mountain resorts last fall. "Not one member of the Vail council that pushed that project through was re-elected," Melamed said. "But those residents should be proud of that council, that had the guts to stand up." Melamed said: "I believe we need employee housing — dense employee housing." He said the 19 Mile Creek project is no more dense than the projects across the street from it. "The people who will be living here are us," Melamed said. "This is where I would be living if I arrived here today, rather than in the 1970s." He added that he may yet end up in a project like 19 Mile Creek because school and property taxes in Whistler may force him out of his single family home. Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said that he, like Melamed, was fortunate to arrive and buy a home in Whistler in the 1970s, and he has seen that equity grow over the years. But he hastened to add: "Our kids are not going to be able to live here unless we have these type of projects... It would be a tremendous loss if our kids can’t stay here." O’Reilly said the true value of projects like 19 Mile Creek will be seen 15-20 years down the road. Following Monday’s council meeting Alpine Meadows residents Ed Zinkevich and Paul Burrows spoke about 19 Mile Creek. Zinkevich thanked Councillor Stephanie Sloan — who voted against the project — for "having the sense to understand" the impact it will have on Alpine Meadows. "You think you were elected on housing?" Zinkevich asked the other council members. "You were elected to look after the OCP. This is on your heads." Burrows said only that he hoped council members were comfortable approving 19 Mile Creek.


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