Bayly appointed interim GM of WHA 

Staehli resigns after three years to pursue other interests

Whistler developer and landlord Steve Bayly has been appointed interim general manager of the Whistler Housing Authority, following the Aug. 10 resignation of former general manager Rick Staehli.

Staehli’s resignation was anticipated. When he was hired as WHA general manager in the spring of 1998 he announced he only intended to stay in the position for two-three years.

The Whistler Housing Authority was created by the municipality in October 1997, following recommendations by an independent firm that assessed Whistler’s employee housing needs. Bayly was interim WHA general manager from October 1997 until Staehli was hired in the spring of 1998.

The WHA is a subsidiary of the W.V. Housing Corporation, who’s sole shareholder is the municipality. The housing authority was created to facilitate the development of employee housing and to manage the employee housing stock.

One of the main duties of Staehli, whose background includes eight years with the British Columbia Housing Management Commission and 25 years in the construction and development industry, was to build employee housing with the municipality’s employee housing fund. Projects built with the fund include townhouses on Lorimer Road, townhouses in Nordic, duplexes at Beaver Flats and the apartment building under construction at Beaver Flats. However the fund is now virtually exhausted.

The private sector also built a number of employee housing projects in recent years, with assistance from the housing authority.

Last month the housing authority released its updated business plan, which stated that an additional 500 employee beds – beyond what was anticipated to be needed – are required in the next two years. The business plan also indicated that the WHA is counting on the Whistler business community to commit to annual leases in order to make the extra beds a reality.

In presenting the business plan to council Staehli warned that the target of housing 80 per cent of employees in Whistler was being met up until last year, when it slipped to 79 per cent. He expects it has fallen lower than that this year.

The municipality has recently given senior planner Kim Needham the title of Housing Planner and directed her to focus specifically on employee housing issues.

Staehli, who owns a farm in the Pemberton valley, is working with a company involved in independent power projects.

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