editorial 

A lot of people are talking about the provincial election which has to be called in the next 12 months, but municipal elections will be 13 months from now, and it's not too soon to start thinking about them. As it looks right now, next summer is going to be another monster year for construction. One year from now every parcel in Village North, save perhaps one, will be under construction or built. In short, Whistler will very near buildout. The resort monitoring program and town hall meeting which is intended to track development and provide snapshots of what it means has been delayed because of the pace of development this year. Whistler Mountain still holds a number of bed units, but virtually the only other thing left to build (that will add bed units) is affordable or employee housing — if it can be built. What buildout means, for those who haven't been paying attention, is no more development that will add beds in the valley. That will be a relief to many, but it also holds some important implications that should be considered now. For instance, the development cost charges, which have provided the municipality with a lot of money over the years, will dry up. New ways of paying for additional amenities will have to be found. It also means the price of real estate will likely skyrocket, making today's prices look like bargains. But buildout has been part of Whistler's overall plan since the early 1980s. Limiting growth has been considered critical from the very beginning. Now that Whistler is about to reach that point the question is do we have the political will to keep that ceiling on development — or more fundamentally, do we want to keep that ceiling. These and other political questions should be discussed now, so that the answer is clear 13 months hence.

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