With only 17 months to go until Whistler welcomes the world for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, construction is raging throughout the resort municipality.
An inventory compiled by Pique Newsmagazine shows at least 18 major construction projects are going on in Whistler, most with completion dates set before February 2010 (graph printed in Pique's hardcopy paper). Yet there are only about eight snow-free months remaining before February 2010.
Despite the looming deadline, and even though British Columbia is facing a province-wide shortage of skilled labour that is helping escalate building costs, stakeholders in the local construction industry remain positive.
“The market is busy, but everybody seems to be rising to the occasion,” said Jim Charters, president of the Whistler Construction Company. “The Olympic projects appear to be moving along quite well, and residentially everything seems to be taken care of. I think everybody is handling it all quiet well under the situation. There is no panic.”
On the other side of the equation, other sectors in Whistler are feeling the pinch from the construction industry’s busy schedule. Chief among these is the housing market and labour market.
Gordon Low from Mountain Country Property Management Ltd. said the number of construction workers in town has been high since Vancouver and Whistler won the right to host the Olympics in 2003, and this is one of the reasons the rental market has been so tight in recent years.
“The increase hit right after the announcement of the Olympics,” said Low. “After that, it has been steady. High but steady.”