With a sign announcing the sale of the Nesters Laundromat, Simon Lee closed up shop on Dec. 30 after seven years in business. The Telus store, located on the bottom of the Nesters mall, is moving into the space.
Lee confirmed that he is selling the washers and dryers, and is looking for buyers.
The space has been for sale by the owner for several months.
With the closure of the laundromat in Creekside in 2005 Nesters was the only option for some locals. With Nesters closed, the only laundromat in town is the one at the Riverside RV Resort and Campground on Mons Road. There is no bus service to the area, but it’s a short walk from the entrance to Spruce Gove.
Councillor Gordon McKeever plans to bring the closure up at a future council meeting.
“I don’t have much concrete to say about this except it is a very real concern,” he said. “It’s been in my thoughts since the Creekside Laundromat closed down a couple of years ago and I started to hear from people what a hassle it was to have to take two buses each way to do laundry. That got me thinking about what would happen if, or when, the second one shut down. I guess that day is here.
“This is a problem I’ll be raising with council to see if we can come up with any incentives to get something going. This is a basic community need that needs to be provided for.”
Chris March, who works at Mountain Club, is one of the many locals that use the facilities at Nesters. He heard it was closing last week, and has stopped a few others from making the trip who hadn’t been told that the space was sold.
“For the seasonal work population, there’s a lot of places that people live in that don’t have washing machines,” he said. “This is just crazy — what are we all going to do?
“Going to Nesters and back (to Alpine Meadows) is still a bit of a pain, but at least I could do laundry in an hour and a half. Now it’s going to take half a day.”
March has friends with washing machines who said they will help him, but it’s inconvenient and he’ll have to take at least two buses each way to do his washing. The Riverside campground is closer, but it will involve walking from the nearest bus stop at Spruce Grove — a long way to go with a few weeks of laundry on your back.
March says it would have been better if Nesters customers had been given more notice to allow them to make alternative arrangements.
“I can guarantee there are people showing up there right now with bags of laundry on their backs because the hadn’t heard it was closing,” he said. “I know a lot of people who use Nesters, and nobody knew anything about it.
“In the end I guess people can always do laundry at a friend’s place or something, but that’s not really convenient for anybody. Nesters was by far the most convenient for me.”
While the laundromat at the campground is open to the public, they do not advertise the fact in local phone books. The facility is meant for their own customers, but resort manager Geoff Macdonald says things are slower in the winter months and they can accommodate some members of the community.
“It’s not a huge facility by any means, I think we have eight washers and eight dryers in total so there’s not a lot,” he said. “We welcome anyone down here to do their laundry, but whether we can handle the entire capacity of Whistler with the laundry machines we have in place I don’t know.”
Riverside also doesn’t offer services such as laundry drop-off, like Nesters did. The Riverside facility is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Whether the facility will be open to the public through the summer months is also up in the air, says Macdonald.
“Winters are not as busy for us with nobody camping and fewer RVs, but if the (laundromat) situation persists through the summer we might have to look at things again. When we’re full up with campers and RVers there’s a fair bit of demand for the facilities just from our customers and we probably wouldn’t be as open to the public. But we’re not anticipating that situation for the next couple of months, so the community is welcome in the meantime.”
The owners of the Southside Diner are planning to open a laundromat in the basement of the Southside Lodge, a space that has been occupied by ski stores and other businesses in the past. There’s no word on when that facility might open.