Rainbow information centre to open 

Work on employee housing site expected to start again in next week

By Alison Taylor

Developers of the Rainbow subdivision are planning to open an information centre this summer to keep community members informed about the employee housing project.

The centre will be located in the lower level at Nesters and is expected to open in the coming weeks. It will be the place to have any questions answered about the project and allow people to review the home designs.

“That will be where the plans start to go on display,” said Bill Hayes, project manager.

Rainbow will be the biggest employee housing project in Whistler and has generated enormous interest from employees looking to buy price-restricted homes in the resort.

There are more than 200 applicants on the wait list for the development.

The project received its final approvals from the municipality in early June. Hayes explained that construction workers are set to get back on site very soon. He would like to finalize the engineering drawings before that happens in case there are any last minute changes.

“We haven’t recommenced the site work until we get the engineering just a little bit further,” he said.

“I just don’t want to be caught doing work and having to do it all over again.”

Hayes is aiming to have the first units occupied by the end of summer/early fall 2008.

In order to accomplish that the site servicing work will run concurrently with the home building. Construction on the homes is expected to take place throughout the winter.

“Ideally the services are finished one week and the occupancy takes place the next week,” said Hayes. “That’s what we’re aiming for.”

The final engineering plans will be submitted to the municipality by the end of this month, said Hayes. Site work is expected to begin again as soon as this week.

Meanwhile, the architects are refining the housing designs, in particular the duplex designs, which will be the first structures built.

Two local building companies — Vision Pacific and Glacier Creek Contracting — have committed to working with Rainbow on the project.

Hayes said Rainbow is reviewing statistics from the Whistler Housing Authority on what employees can afford and are trying to work within that cost.

“We’re making our housing units that we’re going to be offering to match the statistical trend of what people are looking for,” said Hayes.

“We’re trying to get the best design we can to fit in with the cost that we have to work with.”

Based on numbers from the WHA a duplex at Rainbow is expected to cost between $320,000 and $450,000, depending on the size.

A single family home is expected to cost between $400,000 and $550,000.

All of the 209 applicants have been pre-approved for mortgages at the minimum amount.

Fewer are pre-approved at the higher amounts, with 24 applicants pre-approved at the half million dollar mark or more.

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