Local builders get Olympic job 

click to enlarge Phase One An artist's rendition of what townhouses in the athlete's village will look like.
  • Phase One An artist's rendition of what townhouses in the athlete's village will look like.

Two local companies have landed a big contract to build the first homes at the athletes’ village.

Glacier Creek Contracting and Murphy Construction, both based out of Pemberton, will be building the first 40 townhouses in the $130 million project, with the possibility of building more to come.

Glacier Creek will build 30 homes, while Murphy Construction will build the remaining 10 homes.

“They both showed lots of get up and go and drive and some good ideas on how to save money and do things efficiently,” said Neil Godfrey, vice president of the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation (WDC), the municipally-owned company charged with building the athletes’ village.

The decision to split the contract between the two companies was done in part to secure some added manpower for future sections of the village. Construction of 20 more units is expected to get underway by the end of this year.

“Also, they compete with each other so it keeps them both honest,” explained Godfrey.

Glacier Creek has extensive experience building affordable housing in the area, such as the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) Beaver Flats building and the Pioneer Junction complex in Pemberton. But this kind of project, said president Eric Prall, raised the bar a little higher.

“It’s exciting to be involved with the athletes’ village for the Olympics,” he said. “We’re accustomed to doing a lot of this kind of work but this is definitely a little more exciting.”

Murphy Construction has less experience with affordable housing, said Godfrey, but their passion was convincing.

“They certainly showed lots of motivation so we wanted to give them a smaller number so that they could try it out,” said Godfrey. “Obviously we have a lot to build here over the next three years so we’re trying to build relationships with some good contractors who ultimately we see hopefully building a fair chunk of this stuff. Nothing’s guaranteed of course. They all have to be tendered out.”

Murphy Construction’s owner Graham Murphy was excited about the contract.

“The WDC has given me an opportunity but they also did their due diligence,” said Murphy. “They checked my company out. I went into it with an open attitude and they’ve given me an opportunity to shine.”

His company has been quietly operating in the area for 17 years and has roughly 30 employees.

Murphy is already working on Olympic projects through another company, Snow Mountain Projects. Together the companies are working on three buildings — a pump house, a valve house and a compressor building — on Whistler Mountain. The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC) has contracted out all three projects. Snow Mountain Projects is the general contractor with a focus on the mechanical side, while Murphy Construction is taking care of the construction of the buildings.

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