For the first time in Olympic history, the International Olympic Committee bestowed the designation of Host Mountain Resort upon a community—recognizing Whistler’s significant role in staging and hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Hosting the Nordic, Alpine, Jumping and Sliding events, Whistler was required to provide housing for over 3000 athletes, officials and technical personnel during the Games. To accomplish this, the Province of British Columbia initially considered constructing temporary housing for the Games period.
During the bid phase, however, the concept emerged for the provision of an Olympic and Paralympic Village that would also serve as a permanent resident housing legacy for the community of Whistler. With funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments and a land grant from the Province, the RMOW, set about developing an Athletes’ Village for Games use, that would transition into a permanent legacy of resident housing for the Whistler community following the Games.
To oversee the development of this concept, the RMOW created the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation (WDC) and charged it with developing a Business Plan and the responsibility of planning and delivering a new community that would meet the needs and requirements of the athletes during the Games and, a permanent resident housing neighbourhood for the Whistler community following the Games.
Fundamental to this business plan was the establishment of a land bank. The Provincial Government provided a land grant of 135.79 hectares to the RMOW to support resident housing. The Athletes’ Village occupies approximately 37 hectares of this land grant leaving the balance available for possible future development.
The Land Bank is critical to Whistler’s long-term health and ability to house employees and residents, as it designates land to be used for resident housing at no cost to the community. The transfer of Crown land to the Whistler Community Land Bank has provided a key lasting legacy of Whistler’s involvement in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The Province of B.C. transferred ownership of the land to the RMOW in August of 2006 as part of a larger land transfer under the Community Land Bank Agreement. WDC was granted beneficial ownership of the lands by the RMOW in a Declaration of Limited Trust dated August 18th, 2006.
A Provincial Covenant restricts the transfer of the land to the Community Land Bank on the basis that the Province grants a covenant under Section 219 of the Land Title Act in order to restrict the use of the land in perpetuity to affordable Resident Housing, along with a list of approved ancillary uses.
According to the Land Bank Agreement, any lands that are used for purposes other than resident housing or the approved ancillary uses must be purchased at fair market value from the Province. However, the Province agreed to amend the land bank agreement to permit market housing (without compensation) for the sole purpose of financing resident housing.
Whistler 2020 is our community's shared vision and plan for continued success to the year 2020—and an ambitious step on a longer journey to a sustainable future. Rooted in community values and a science-based approach to sustainability, Whistler 2020 is long-term, comprehensive, community-developed, community-implemented, and action-focused.
Whistler 2020 was the foundation document that helped Whistler Development Corporation in planning and delivering the Athletes’ Village.