Youth need affordable housing if they are to call Whistler home 

Whistler. It’s our Future hears from local young people

They want affordable housing, affordable transportation, and some assurance that the essence of Whistler is being protected.

While there were heated discussions as to how to achieve this 14 youths, who gathered to attend a meeting organized as part of the Whistler. Its Our Future, all agreed that something had to be done to protect the town they had chosen to work and live in.

The meeting was one of several taking place over the months for all segments of the community to discuss the platform which will eventually provide the resort with a Comprehensive Sustainability Plan aimed at tackling environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly opened Tuesday night’s discussions and reiterated the importance of youth taking an interest in the issues surrounding the development of the resort.

"Out of you will come the next generation of councillors and mayors," he told the group munching on free snacks and sipping free beer.

"I think you guys can make Whistler a better place… You are the energy and the excitement we have that they don’t have in places like Aspen.

"We have something incredibly unique in this resort and our success is attacking us now. The question for you is how do we keep the success we have."

With that challenge in mind the youths broke up into work groups. Working with a facilitator each began to dissect what brought them to the resort, what keeps them here, what issues they face in staying here and what can be done to make sure they and others continue to make Whistler their home.

There are many different reasons why youth come to Whistler. It can be as simple as looking for the best ride or skiing around, or as complex as planning a career in the service industry.

But all of those who live here love the recreation the resort provides, its pristine beauty, and its combination of sophisticated services within a small town.

For some though the lifestyle is under threat.

Tourists, the bread and butter of the resort, are making the resort a year round destination.

That means there is no down time for locals to enjoy. The village is always filled with people and the roads are always congested.

"I don’t particularly like Whistler," said Matt Frederickson who has chosen to live in Pemberton.

"It’s Disneyland. It’s too much. You walk down the street in Pemberton and you recognize people. You walk down the street here and it is all tourists."

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