Trailer park costs come in on target 

Several hurdles still to cross before temporary housing becomes reality

click to enlarge Business Helping Business Tom Horler, co-chair of the task force aimed to find solutions to the seasonal housing shortage stands on the site at the old highways work yard, which currently lies empty. The site is owned by First Nations. It was selected because it's flat, serviced and close to the village. Photo by Alison Taylor.
  • Business Helping Business Tom Horler, co-chair of the task force aimed to find solutions to the seasonal housing shortage stands on the site at the old highways work yard, which currently lies empty. The site is owned by First Nations. It was selected because it's flat, serviced and close to the village. Photo by Alison Taylor.

Preliminary costs for a temporary trailer park that will accommodate almost 200 seasonal workers have come in on target.

Early estimates for the park have been pegged at roughly $500 to $600 per bed.

“The initial prices we’ve gotten are not cost prohibitive, so that’s encouraging,” said Councillor Ralph Forsyth, co-chair of the H.O.M.E. (Housing Our Many Employees) task force.

The plan is to place 180 employee beds in temporary housing on the old highways works yard, opposite Alta Vista. The trailers would be leased from a Vancouver-based supplier for two years. They would be available next winter through until after the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“This is a temporary solution,” stressed task force co-chair Tom Horler, in response to earlier concerns from Mayor Ken Melamed that often temporary structures become permanent fixtures over time.

Part of the deal to ensure the trailers don’t remain on site is that they will revert to Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations after the 2010 Games.

The two First Nations are the new owners of the highways works yard site, as per a deal with the municipality this summer.

“In exchange for rent we would give the trailers to First Nations at the end of two years and then they would take them off-site and use them to whatever they think is their best purpose,” said Horler. “That’s the formula we’re looking for.”

The deal will be presented to First Nations this week.

But their approval alone won’t give it the green light.

Among other things the task force needs to convince council to approve zoning for temporary trailers on that site.

“(Councillor) Gordon McKeever and I (who are on the task force) don’t think that anything is off the table,” said Forsyth. “Everything needs to be considered and we haven’t really had a broad discussion about it at the council table.”

In addition to council’s approval, the site servicing may need to be upgraded to accommodate 180 people, and there could be some environmental clean-up work needed on site.

Another crucial component is to get business owners on board.

Business owners will need to sign a lease for two years and in turn rent the units to their employees.

“This is a break-even proposition for the business owner but in fact they actually benefit because then they have an employee,” said Horler.

Wild Willies owner Bill Lamond is “all for it.”

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