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Whistler : a case study of the effects of amenity migration on the resort municipality of whistler and surrounding environs Gripton, Stuart Valentich

Abstract

This thesis examines the nature of amenity migration, its effects and related planning strategies and practices through a case study of the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and surrounding environs The goal of this study is to provide a descriptive overview of amenity migration in relation to the RMOW and region, primarily from the perspectives of selected key stakeholders as well as documentation from several RMOW and regional sources For some time, the RMOW has been known as a world class destination resort and a progressive leader in various aspects of planning and sustainability Interviews with sixteen key stakeholders revealed a range of familiarity with the concept of amenity migration and considerable knowledge about economic, social and environmental consequences The concept of amenity migration was not used in RMOW and regional planning strategies and practices, raising some question about its conceptualization A major effect of amenity migration was the lack of affordable housing, with subsequent local and regional effects Significant planning measures perceived as effective included the Whistler Housing Authority, Vision 2020 and a regional growth strategy, currently under development. The study identifies the importance of a regional framework for strategic planning and the need for more research, in particular, to enable mountain communities to track their amenity migrants. Two key issues emerged: whether a "resort community" is viable; and the role of planners in relation to serving the diverse interests of stakeholders in these locales. The thesis concludes with implications regarding the continued use of the concept of amenity migration and the importance of the concept for planners, policy development and planning practice related to the phenomenon.

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