The new year has rolled in but Whistler is still weathering its employee housing crunch. 

Both the mountains and the Whistler Housing Authority were hoping things would start easing up on the housing front from Jan. 1 as more accommodation was freed up after being held back for millennium holiday period rentals, but it may still be too early to get an accurate read on the housing situation.

WHA general manager Rick Staehli said a clearer picture should have emerged by the second week in January. Kirby Brown, Whistler-Blackcomb’s director of employee experience said he expects things will start improving around Jan. 15.

“We haven’t seen many places come back on the market yet. I think what we are waiting for now is for people to clean up after the Christmas holidays and hopefully in the next two weeks we will see some properties come back on the market.”

Brown said if the situation hasn’t changed by February, “then we have got an issue.”

The mountains are still hoping to rent an additional 10 to 15 homes in an effort to house about 80 employees. Brown said the goal is to try and reduce the density in Whistler-Blackcomb staff housing. The density was increased during the Christmas period with staff having to bunk up in an effort to house more than 200 full-time employees. Brown said staff levels remain pretty consistent from now through until spring. “In April we see things start to wrap up a bit.”

The mountains are currently renting approximately 50 houses and are housing just over 1,325 full-time staff members, compared to 1,055 last winter season.

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