Rainbow property owner gets ready to pump gas 

Council votes to increase convenience store to 2,400 square feet after oil companies showed little interest

Whistler moved one step closer to getting a second gas station on Tuesday night, after council unanimously voted to increase the size of the Rainbow station's convenience store.

The store will be 1,300 square feet larger than originally proposed.

Now, thanks to council's decision, the owner of the future gas station, convenience store and the grocery store at Rainbow said he can bring in the gas station as quickly as the municipality allows.

"We are motivated to make it happen," said Sam Brovender of Calgary-based company Rainbow Canucks Properties Ltd. on Wednesday morning.

"The faster we go through the process, the faster we will get that thing open and started. We need to go as quickly as we can so the community can have the benefit of having that amenity."

But council's decision this week was a crucial step, said Brovender.

Up until now, Rainbow Canucks Properties, which acquired the property earlier this year, was having a hard time finding an oil company willing to move into the spot at the north end of Whistler.

The main deterrent has been low traffic in the area, said Brovender.

Oil companies that were interested in the space said they would only move in if the convenience store's size was increased from 1,100 square feet to 2,400 square feet. That's because a large chunk of their profits come from convenience store sales, not gasoline sales.

"When I spoke with them, they were numbers oriented," said Brovender of the five major companies, Husky, Esso, Chevron, Shell Canada and Petro-Canada.

"Of the five major gas stations, three have passed," said Brovender. "And two were only interested if we got this zoning, otherwise they were not interested."

Brovender also clarified that the 2,400 square foot convenience store will not just be filled with "chips and pop."

Half of that space will go to bathrooms, storage and office space. And a quarter of the retail space will be dedicated to car products like wiper blades, oil and anti-freeze.

Comparatively, the Husky gas station in Whistler is 3,000 square feet.

Also, the Rainbow gas station will likely have six pumps, as opposed to Husky's nine pumps.

Right now, the Husky station in Creekside is the only gas station in Whistler.

Petro Canada once operated in Creekside but was closed in 2006. Chevron also tried to bring a station into White Gold but was denied permission by the council of the day.

Since that time, residents have consistently pointed out that not having a second place to fuel up in Whistler is a problem.

During Tuesday's council meeting, Tom Thomson spoke to this need and said "a gas station north is a very valuable and viable necessity in today's world."

But the Rainbow station isn't the only potential Whistler gas station on the books. The five-acre First Nations' legacy land at Function Junction is also zoned for a gas station.

At one time there was talk of building that gas station prior to the Winter Olympics, but those plans never panned out. Currently, no concrete time lines have been announced.



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