A solution for all

This letter was addressed to the mayor and council. A copy was forwarded to Pique for publication.

As recent articles in the local papers confirm, the municipality is currently in the throes of “clamping down on local homeowners” that have non - conforming space developed in their homes . In my review of these recent reports, it would appear as though the municipality has decided to allocate substantial resources to address this problematic situation. I certainly support bringing this matter to a successful resolution as I believe that the current situation presents a substantial safety issue within many Whistler properties. When development occurs without proper inspections via the building permit process, safety systems may get sidestepped, and once a property has work done without a permit, it will forever be off the municipal radar as further work typically avoids the permitting process due to fear of being found out. This only exacerbates the situation.

Unfortunately, the municipality of Whistler is faced with the unenviable position of playing police in a situation where success is almost certainly unattainable. I wonder what the dollar value is of all the resources dedicated thus far toward “closing those loopholes” over the years, with municipal inspections, bylaw enforcement, litigation, registering of covenants, and the countless hours of preparation for those proceedings.

One recent analysis of the current housing stock in Whistler peg s the percentage of properties with “non-conforming space” in the neighbourhood of 8 0 per cent ( c ourtesy of the Association of Whistler Realtors ) . While it’s typically the large luxury homes that carry the brunt of the negative publicity, the reality is that the vast majority of upstanding, law - abiding citizens in Whistler live in a property that is non-conforming. Think of the old timer in Emerald with the rental suite, and the property owners (long time locals) that rely on that rental income to meet their mortgage each month. This is also the reality of non-conforming space. Does the municipality relish taking that homeowner to task? Even if the resources were available, I would suggest the lawmakers would be remiss in their duty to the public if those resources were deployed in such a fashion as to address all of the non-conforming space in Whistler. Are we to turn a blind eye to some while confronting the one’s that make a good story?


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