2010 Olympics has Whistler residents concerned !
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
You know it's funny, the 2010 Olympics, the Hype, the seemingly endless amounts of Olympic Committee money going to hire friends, family and assorted hanger ons as high priced Consultants, armchair analysts, media wonks, bureaucratic chair moisteners to offer opinon, attending lavish fact finding missions to exotic locales the world over to study previous Olympic venues for ideas, pro and cons of having a Olympic venue etc..... Let's us not forget local Real estate speculators chomping at the bit to ensure taxpayer money spent on such trivialities such as urban planning will benefit developers looking to squeeze out Joe Paycheque and family out of his/her rental accomodations, because let's face it, there is BIG Development money to be made and Joe Six Pack aint exactly the market they are trying to target, unless Joe Six Pack has 500+K to spend on a 500 square foot Whistler Condo.
In scenario of "Putting the Cart before the Horse" Whistlerittes, Mayor and Council were quick to take the Big money and the associated benefits of hosting the 2010 Olympics, such as a brand new spanking extra wide highway to Whistler paid for by all British Columbians, plus all the opther improvements to their daily lives of which we as Taxpayers will see little benefit, unless we happen to reside in Whistler.
Now a couple of years after being awarded this prestigous event, and of course only after a good bulk of the Olympic Whister money is spent, Whisterlittes all of a sudden are getting cold feet, goodness me they are now saying, "What of the impact of thousands upon thousands of visitors to our fair berg?" Sure, we Whisterlittes like the money you gave us, our house prices have never been more profitable for us, but , " Sorry We're Full, No Vacancy" do you people really have to come here? The underlying fact is (I know as I have a Time Share in Whister and hear this all the time from residents) Whisterittes prefer everyone to save your money and stay home, it will be much more enjoyable for you people to just watch the Olympics on Television at your local sports bar, far , far away from us.
Whistlerittes ever so environmentally concious prefer YOU the Public protect the environment, if you come you will contribute to the following and increase; green house gas, carbon footprint, kill the whales, ruin our streets with traffic, breath our air, crowd our shops, restaurants, golf courses, ski hills, lakes etc, so please consider our environment. The traffic congestion will spoil our "Calmed Traffic Areas", so please stay home, we do not have enough houses, parking, services, golf courses, walking trails. We don't even have a Zellers or Walmart here, or a Denny's or IHOP, so what is the point?
If you come here you will destroy our gated and cloistered, though opulent way of life. By the way, thanks BC and Canadian Taxpayers for the money, we'll send you a postcard, by email of course.
Whistler residents raise concerns about 2010 impact
Housing for local workers is called the single biggest issue that remains unresolved
Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, January 12, 2008
Where to live, where to park and what roads will be open when the 2010 Winter Games come to town are the top concerns of Whistler residents, according to Mayor Ken Melamed.
This weekend, Whistler council expects those concerns will dominate a question-and-answer forum at which the Vancouver Organizing Committee will brief residents on plans they have in store for the resort community.
Whistler normally holds two town-hall meetings a year to canvass concerns of residents, who raise issues from dog poo on the sidewalks to the lack of parking.
Six-year-old Nicole Gillales walks across one of the roof sections destined for the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Richmond. About 800 schoolchildren on Friday signed the panel, which is made of wood from trees killed by pine beetles. Members of the general public are also invited to add their names to the panel today and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Richmond city hall.
But this year, Whistler is holding one specifically related to the impact of the Olympics on Whistler residents, and Melamed is under no illusion about the kind of concerns his taxpayers are expressing.
Finding enough housing -- both for regular resort employees and the thousands of volunteers needed for the Olympics -- is the challenge, he said.
"The housing issue is the single biggest issue that has not been resolved, although Vanoc says they are making progress on the rooms they need," the mayor said in an interview. "We really haven't wrestled to the ground the employee accommodation, the volunteer accommodation and the home-stay programs."
Whistler has long had trouble finding enough suitable rooms for the workers who staff restaurants, hotels, ski facilities and shops. The official population of about 10,000 swells to 14,000 in the winter, putting a premium on workers' facilities. There are about 18,000 tourist rooms. The Athletes Village, being built next to the old municipal dump, will be converted after the Games to resident-only housing.
But in the meantime, the Olympics are only helping to exacerbate the situation.
Melamed said some homeowners who rent suites have indicated they may evict tenants in order to capitalize on the Games.
"What I am hearing is from employees, as opposed to residents. I suppose in some cases they are the same, but where the real concern is coming from is from those employees who are renting," he said. "They are asking, 'Where am I going to stay during the Olympics, because my landlord is telling me they are not sure they are going to rent to me.'"
A recent study done for the municipality shows that 77 per cent of residents intend to stay in Whistler for the Games. But the number drops to 53 per cent among those who own second homes or vacation properties. The survey of 512 people, including 200 "second-home owners" indicates that only two per cent of regular residents intend to rent out their homes for the Games, while among second-home owners, the rate is 17 per cent.
Melamed said Whistler may consider temporarily allowing homeowners to rent beds for overnight stays. Currently, the municipality doesn't allow tourist accommodations in residential zones.
"There was some consideration in the municipality to the idea of a temporary use permit, to allow homeowners in Whistler who are not zoned for it to rent their homes nightly," Melamed said. "Our initial investigation suggests that there is enough tourist accommodation and that we don't have to do that. But it is still an idea being considered."
The town hall meeting, which starts today at 2:30 p.m. at Maurice Young Millennium Place, will include a presentation by Vanoc CEO John Furlong.