Local officials have paved the way for a long-awaited Whistler Blackcomb (WB) staff housing project slated for the base of Blackcomb Mountain.
The six-storey, 66-unit apartment complex, dubbed Glacier 8, will be 100-per-cent employee-restricted and subject to rental rate stipulations. At the Aug. 2 council meeting, officials approved the rezoning and subdivision of the site, located on Glacier Lane and nestled between parking lots 6 and 7. It would be WB's eighth employee housing apartment on Glacier Lane.
The project was first floated in 2018, but was delayed in part by the pandemic. At that time, WB said the complex would house up to 200 employees, and would primarily target seasonal staff.
“Affordable employee housing is critical for our community’s success, both today and for the future, and a core tenet of our Official Community Plan," said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton during the council meeting. "As the town’s largest employer, Whistler Blackcomb can have a major impact with this project, and I am heartened by their commitment to the community and our vision for a more sustainable future."
Development and building permits are still needed before the project breaks ground.
"We are excited that the Glacier 8 housing project is moving forward. Housing availability is essential for the sustainability and viability of our community, and the partnership between Whistler Blackcomb and the RMOW has been critical in reaching this milestone," said Geoff Buchheister, Whistler Blackcomb COO, in a release. "Affordable housing for Whistler Blackcomb employees and the broader community is a top priority, and we remain committed to our ongoing collaboration to ensure we collectively make progress towards these goals."
In addition to adding housing for the resort's largest employer, the project will also provide funding for transit. As part of this step, WB will make a $1.08-million contribution towards transit, reducing vehicle volume on the roads and assisting with the RMOW’s climate action goals, the municipality noted.
The building will also be subject to the RMOW’s green building covenant, consistent with the objectives and goals of the RMOW’s Green Building Policy.