Rainbow gets green light, again 

Thursday’s resolution an ‘acceptable compromise,’ says developer

click to enlarge Ready to Build The latest site plan for the Rainbow Development, with Phase I getting underway this year
  • Ready to Build The latest site plan for the Rainbow Development, with Phase I getting underway this year

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At issue was the “secondary purchaser clause” which became part of discussions between staff and the developers almost 11 months ago, but was only presented to council this month. The clause allows Whistler residents not on the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) waitlist to buy a home in Rainbow if no one on the waitlist wants to buy it.

The fear among councillors is that a large portion of the homes might not go to people who need affordable housing in Whistler, since almost half of the 150 homes will be priced above $500,000.

Only 76 people on the Rainbow waitlist are qualified to buy one of the 70 single-family homes in the development, currently priced between $525,000 and $625,000.

To address this issue, the revised agreement hammered out in the three days leading up to Thursday evening’s meeting states that only 30 of the 70 single-family homes at Rainbow will go to people not on the WHA waitlist. And all of the 80 duplexes will go to waitlist buyers.

The Rainbow developers also have to try to sell the units to people on the waitlist for 90 days before they can offer them to secondary qualified buyers, reads the revised agreement. During that three-month period, the Resort Municipality of Whistler has the option to purchase the land from the developer.

Marla Zucht, general manager of the WHA, said the housing authority was pleased council passed third reading so the project could move along.

“That was the outcome we were hoping for, because we did not want to see anything slow down with the momentum that Rainbow had,” she said.

Zucht added she is not too concerned with the secondary qualified purchaser clause.

“I think there are a lot of really strong mechanisms in place to almost assure we don’t get there, and I know that in talking and working with the developer, their intention is to make sure all those Rainbow units sell to families on the waitlist,” said Zucht.

“That secondary qualified purchaser clause is really only there as protection or fall back for them to mitigate the risk for Rainbow… There are quite a few safeguards in place to prevent that clause from ever coming to fruition, and that gives me comfort.”

During the meeting, Bob MacPherson, general manager of community life for the RMOW, took full responsibility for the fact council was not aware of the secondary purchaser clause until two weeks ago.

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