The Phoenix project is back to give some welcomed relief to
Whistler's severe housing crisis this winter. Sort of.
This week, an independent project manager and architect
announced they have come up with their own version of the temporary employee
housing project and hope to get four re-fabricated buildings ready for
occupancy in December, if money is secured. There would be enough units to hold
The new project — named Phoenix Housing Mark II, even
though it is not associated with the Phoenix Housing Corporation —
received glowing reviews Monday from Whistler council, who unanimously voted to
grant the group a development permit during their final meeting of the term.
"We are so excited to have this back on the table, and we
really appreciate all your efforts in making this happen," said Councillor
“I want to comment on how much we want this to happen, and I do
not think you will see this group standing in the way.”
But while things look good, the project still needs to secure
funding from a bank, as well as get local businesses back on board.
Both the project manager, John Jervis, and architect, Alvaro Ponce
de Leon, said they hope to get the money from the Royal Bank of Canada. Lack of
funds was the primary reason Phoenix I folded in September. At that time, the
former supplier, SG Blocks, was short $3 million.
“We will never be completely confident, but we have been in
conversations with the Royal Bank,” said Ponce de Leon, a non-registered
architect, adding the group has already submitted their application to RBC.
“They are sponsoring the Games, and they think they can help us
out with the project — not all of it of course — but they want to
be part of the solution.”
However, Greg Newton from RBC said nothing is set in stone, and
he has not received a financing package from the group.
“I am certainly familiar with the project... and was a huge
supporter of it when Phoenix I was around,” said Newton.
“I do not know enough about these guys to make a credit
decision, and the information I requested back on Oct. 21 has not been
If successful, Phoenix II will consist of four buildings, with
15 units each. Each unit will have five single-occupancy bedrooms, a kitchen, a
bathroom and a common room.
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