New location put forward for temporary workers housing 

H.O.M.E. Committee to bring proposal to council Feb. 18

A temporary trailer park that would house local workers is gaining ground this week as a new location is explored for its building potential.

The site is located north of the village on the west side of Highway 99, opposite Mons Road.

The new site has come up for consideration as a deal with First Nations, which own the BCBC lands opposite Alta Vista, remains up in the air.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC) confirmed this week it has leased that site from Squamish and Lil’wat Nations for ski waxing trailers during the upcoming FIS World Cup and national speed championships next month.

The lease expires in May 2008, which still leaves the door open for a temporary housing project. In the meantime, a second location is being considered.

“We told (the proponents) that if they don’t get anywhere with First Nations we can provide them with some acres,” confirmed Steve Bayly this week.

Bayly, along with business partner Nigel Woods, has an application working through municipal hall to rezone a piece of property west of Highway 99. They are proposing the area would be used for “back of house” facilities such as a bus depot, recycling depot and a taxi maintenance and storage facility. The land is currently zoned for a single family estate home.

Because they don’t plan to build all 16 acres at once, they have offered four acres as a potential temporary housing site, should it be needed.

Tom Horler, co-chair of the H.O.M.E. Committee, which is committed to finding a solution to Whistler’s housing crisis, said the Mons site works well for its needs. Not only is it flat, it’s close to transit. There is also a tree buffer between the highway and the proposed location of the housing.

The plan would include the developers delivering a serviced portion of the site by the late fall, just in time to get housing up and ready for the 2008-2009 winter season which promises to be even more challenging than this season. The H.O.M.E. Committee’s plan is to bring temporary housing to Whistler with enough beds for approximately 250 workers.

The housing project would be called the Community Bridge Park.

This will provide a bridge into the community for temporary workers,” said Horler.

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