editorial 

Just as people were beginning to come to grips with Whistler’s ceiling on commercial development we now discover the ceiling on affordable housing development. Not that it’s a new thing. It was stated in a policy adopted at least a year ago that the maximum number of bed units to be allocated for affordable housing will not exceed the equivalent dollars collected in the employee housing fund. And last spring council decided that it wouldn’t allocate more than 70 per cent of those bed units in 1996. But it is only now, on the eve of another call for affordable housing proposals, that we find those figures work out to 700 bed units that can be allocated in 1996. That means only 700 more bed units (in addition to what Whistler and Blackcomb may build and what any benevolent developer builds for his own staff) could possibly be ready for next winter. Given Whistler’s record for getting affordable housing built, 700 bed units in a year would be a huge accomplishment. But just one of the proposals expected in response to the call is for 1,100 bed units. Why put a ceiling on affordable housing now? In fact, given that developers still seem to be able to make a dollar off of affordable housing projects, and that there is a limit to how much affordable housing will be allowed in a year, why have a proposal call at all? Why haven’t developers been coming in all year with proposals for these limited development rights? At this time of this year a proposal call may be the only way to appear to be making progress on the affordable housing issue. With the municipal election just six weeks away and half the council gunning to be mayor no one wants to become too closely associated with projects that are bound to draw fire. And, to be fair, the proposal call does clarify some of the municipality’s priorities, preferences and guidelines for affordable housing. But if affordable housing was really a concern those guidelines and preferences might have been in place and well known to all years ago. but Kirkpatrick suggested already know about six proposals that will come in (Who ever said bed units weren’t worth dollars; maybe they can be traded on the stock exchange?)

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