Where have all the workers gone?
Aspen’s moratorium on residential redevelopment is laudable, if tardy. Ineffective for decades in securing a sufficient stock of housing for year-round locals, the city is forced to take draconian measures to address the current employee crisis.
At the same time, the city’s recognition of the environmental side effects of Aspen’s insatiable development orgy is tardier still. Over-development has long been ignored here as a moral dichotomy blighting an enlightened community founded, not on greed and speculation, but on lofty ideas, spiritual values and the sanctity of nature.
Meanwhile, the Aspen Skiing Co. hopes to remedy the problem with its “Tenants for Turns” program by inviting property owners to offer up empty rooms in their sumptuous, empty mansions to Skico employees. Presumably, Aspen’s unstinting serial homeowners and the ever-generous real estate sector have already come forward with ample accommodations for lifties and restaurant workers, putting them up in plush digs complete with maid service and Audi SUVs.
While the Skico’s financial incentive of discounted skiing may be insignificant to most well-heeled housing hosts, self-interest has greater merit: If this community wants pampered derrières clad in designer ski suits to slide happily onto chairlifts this winter, there had better be smiling local employees to load them.
No one in Aspen wants to stand in line, either for skiing or for the fundamental right of decent and affordable housing.
Up the ‘Pan