Election Notes: Milner unveils new solution for housing crunch 

Council candidate finds land, money to get project off the ground

One month after the Phoenix Housing Project was put to rest, candidate hopeful Ted Milner has come up with a new plan to house seasonal workers in Whistler’s tight rental market.

Milner, who served on council for two terms, said he has found a plot of land and enough financing to make a new housing project feasible, without having to dip into the pockets of taxpayers.

In a press release issued Oct. 20, Milner said that local builder Tim Regan, from Vision Pacific, has a large, developable between property Spring Creek and Bayshores dubbed Cheakamus North.

The site has several serviced lots and road access, although rezoning would be required to construct permanent, dormitory-style seasonal homes like Whistler-Blackcomb has on Alta Lake Road.

Milner said the project could be financed via the $5 million that the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) has in reserves or by leveraging the equity in its already built rental projects.

Taxpayer money would not be used in his housing strategy, he stressed.

“The taxes I pay on my house here are supposed to be used to support my property with services and also general good, like parks and arenas,” said Milner, who helped found and was the first chair of the housing authority.

Milner came up with the plan while meeting with community members to prepare for his election campaign.

Because of his involvement with the housing authority, he was already aware of the authority’s ability to finance a seasonal housing project. Regan’s property brought the housing plan together.

“What I am trying to show is that if I do get elected, there are things I can do that can help our town. Furthermore, with everyone talking about resurrecting the Phoenix project, it does not make sense to wait,” he said.

According to his press release, the WHA has already said the property is highly desirable for employee housing. However, Milner has not yet brought the proposal forward to the housing authority.

 

Belperio steps down

The only female candidate seeking a seat on council withdrew her nomination on Friday, Oct. 17 due to time constraints.

Pina Belperio — known for her involvement with activist groups like Whistler Watch, the Council of Canadians, and AWARE — said it was a tough decision to make but she realized her other commitments would not allow her to run an effective election campaign.

Belperio will be in Alberta working on a documentary film project for the Council of Canadians when three important Whistler meetings are scheduled: the Arts, Culture and Heritage all-candidates meeting, the Chamber of Commerce all candidates meeting, and the Women of Whistler meeting.

“The other project means a lot to me as well, and we have been planning it for a long time,” said Belperio.

“It has been quite a stressful week trying to work out all my different time constraints. Things just seemed to be going in divergent paths, and I took it as a sign.”

Even though she will not be running for council, Belperio said she does not plan to fade into the background.

“I will still be monitoring what happens in Whistler, especially with the Olympics and social costs emanating from there. I will still be active on the sidelines,” she said.

Belperio added she would like to run for another council in the future, and this year’s experience has given her insight into managing her time commitments.

 

Buzzard launches website

Council candidate David Buzzard announced on Monday, Oct. 20, that he now has website dedicated to his campaign.

The site, www.votedavidbuzzard.com , outlines Buzzard’s campaign position, gives more detail on his life, and showcases a collection of letters he has written to newspaper editors.

Other council candidates with campaign websites include Ted Milner with   tedmilner.com, Ralph Forsyth with ralphforsyth.com, Stephen Milstein with talktomewhistler.ca and Jack Crompton with www.jackcrompton.ca

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