Press release: Sun Peaks Mayor and Town of Vail Housing Director join expert resort housing panel at Whistler Institute’s April 27 Speaker Series event

Press Release

Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine and Town of Vail Housing Director George Ruther to join expert resort housing panel at Whistler Institute’s April 27 Speaker Series event

April 20, 2023 – Whistler, BC – In just one short week the Whistler Institute will be hosting six industry experts from across North America to discuss Mountain Resort Housing Possibilities. This event will consist of 2 panel discussions, one speaking to mountain resort housing models utilized in Whistler while the other will speak to mountain resort housing models throughout North America. The panels will be followed by an audience Q&A session. The event in its entirety will be moderated by Pique Newsmagazine’s GD Maxwell on Thursday April 27 at 2:00pm at  the Whistler Conference Centre.

Resort Housing Panelists

Al Raine (Mayor of Sun Peaks) – Al has been the Mayor of Sun Peaks since its inception as a resort municipality in 2010.  Born and raised in Vancouver, Al has an extensive background in the ski industry and British Columbia mountain towns, including becoming acting Ski Area Coordinator of BC In 1974 (a position that provided him with the opportunity to perform site evaluations of 45 areas throughout the province).

Dale Mikkelsen (General Manager, Climate Action, Planning and Development Services, RMOW) – Dale Mikkelsen joined the RMOW on April 3 and will head the Climate Action, Planning and Development Services division, formerly Resort Experience. As the former Director of Development and Chief Operating Officer for Simon Fraser University’s sustainable community model, UniverCity, he brings deep experience in housing and development.  

Duane Jackson (Chair of Whistler 2020 Development Corp & Developer) – Duane is a two-time Whistler City Councillor who has lived and worked in Whistler for 32 years. With over 40 years of design, development, and construction industry experience, he is currently the Chair of the Whistler 2020 Development Corp (WDC). Duane is interested in how best Whistler can continue to address employee and seniors housing in the context of changing demographics, property ownership, rental inventory, resort economics and land use planning.

GD Maxwell (Pique Newsmagazine Columnist) – G.D. Maxwell has been writing about housing and life in Whistler for the past 27 years from his perch on Pique’s back page. That he’s still living in Whistler can be blamed on the success of the Whistler Housing Authority, from whom he purchased his home and for whom he serves on the Board of Directors. Life before Whistler included valuable experience providing real estate project lending in the Old Country — Ontario.

George Ruther (Housing Director, Town of Vail, Colorado) – George Ruther is the Director of Housing within the Housing Department in the town of Vail, Colorado.  He has more than 25 years of mountain resort community development and housing experience.  Since its creation in 2018, the Housing Department, under George’s leadership, has realized a 52% increase in the total number of deed-restricted homes in Vail. The availability and affordability of housing, however, remains the most critical issue facing the Vail community.

Kate Roddick (Senior Project Leader at Whistler Blackcomb) – Kate is a collaborative business leader with over 25 years’ experience managing complex multi-stakeholder relationships and operations. She intentionally embraces the challenges, and leans into the creative thinking and partnerships demanded by the intersection of projects, relationships, operational complexities, regulatory requirements, commitments and responsibilities that make Whistler Blackcomb’s two mountains run safely and smoothly, year-round.

Steve Bayly (Whistler Valley Housing Society) – Steve Bayly has been active in the Real Estate Development and Construction industry in British Columbia for over forty years. Bayly is well known in Whistler as a Founding Director and original General Manager charged with setting up the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA). Bayly was directly responsible for the acquisition of land and development of WHA rental projects Nordic Court, Lorimer Court, Nester’s Pond, and Beaver Flats. Bayly was also a Director of the Whistler Development Corporation (WDC) who built the Whistler 2010 Olympic Athletes’ Village and converted it to the resident restricted Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood post Olympics. Bayly is a Director of the Whistler Valley Housing Society (WVHS).

Event Details:

Date & time: April 27, 2023, 2:00pm PST.
Location: Whistler Conference Centre, 4010 Whistler Way, Whistler, BC V0N 1B4, Canada
Tickets: $25 In Person Theatre Ticket.
Event page:

The Global Perspectives Speaker Series is designed to stimulate discussion and inspire action around major issues facing the world today and into the future. The Series features accomplished thought leaders who have made a global impact through evolutionary and even revolutionary advancements in their fields.

The Whistler Institute partners with individuals and organizations to provide opportunities for learning and influencing change by encouraging innovation and creativity in learning; by thoughtful consideration of  issues; by connecting with leading subject matter experts; and by inspiring individuals and organizations to take initiative. As a registered Canadian Charity that is funded through private donors, foundations, government grants and fees for service, the Whistler Institute is committed to exploring topics that are of both local and global importance.

Media Contact:
Suki Cheyne
Executive Director, Whistler Institute
Tel: 604-932-7600