Affordability big challenge for Whistler 

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"People remember if they felt like they were (cheated). But I have a lot of confidence that won’t happen.

"…People will do the right thing because that is the Canadian way."

Another part of the puzzle to keep the resort affordable will be to keep a handle on housing which may be at even more of a premium when construction workers start arriving to help get the venues ready for the 2010 Games.

On the list for upgrades and construction are the Athlete’s Village, the Nordic Centre in the Callaghan Valley, the Bobsled Luge run on Blackcomb, upgrades to Whistler Mountain for the Alpine events, upgrades to Meadow Park Sports Centre and a new multi-purpose/entertainment complex on Lot 1/9.

While plans aren’t set yet, said O’Reilly, the hope is that the first building constructed will be the Athletes’ Village.

"As quickly as we can build some of those buildings then we can house the construction workers in those facilities and that will take pressure off the employees and the employers who are worried," said O’Reilly.

But it is not just where you house the workers that is an issue. Finding them is a challenge as well for many Whistler projects.

Vision Pacific Contracting and Design advertises in other parts of the province for skilled workers for their Whistler projects.

" We are advertising in the Interior and on Vancouver Island," said owner Tim Regan.

"We have guys that come for the week and then go back home on the weekend."

Vision Pacific would prefer to attract key employees here to live but the cost of living in the resort makes that a challenge.

Like many construction companies it rents private residences in Whistler for its workers in order to ensure it has the labour it needs during the busy months.

Reagan, who believes the Games will be good for the resort, is hopeful that stakeholders will get together quickly and get a game plan going to combat some of the affordability issues.

"The people are out there to get this done," he said.

"But organizers are going to have to design some infrastructure in order to build the rest of the infrastructures needed and that only makes sense."

Chris Murrell, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. site superintendent of the new Four Seasons construction site, believes the Olympics won’t bring many more workers to the resort than it has been used to handling for the last few years.

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