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Temporary housing camp may not be in Pemberton

Nicklaus North driving range could house 2010 Olympic security personnel



A massive housing camp planned for Pemberton during the Olympics may land in Whistler come 2010.

Pemberton council has approved a temporary commercial use permit (TCUP) to house 2,000 security personnel, workers and volunteers in Atco trailers at a site in its industrial park for a three-month period around the Games.

But now Pemberton is facing competition from a proponent who wants to situate the camp on Whistler's Nicklaus North driving range.

"There is potential that a site in Whistler has been proposed by another company," said Cam McIvor of McIvor Properties, which is now known as Pemberton Base Camp Limited. "It's our understanding that there is a competitor seeking to put it in Whistler."

McIvor applied for the TCUP in March and the Village of Pemberton approved it in May. It was the first such permit to be approved in the Sea to Sky region. It applies to a fully-serviced 6.83-hectare site that includes 19 vacant lots. It was initially expected that the site would house between 750 and 2,000 beds for Games-related employees, but now that's up in the air.

"I have an application to put the camp in Pemberton... and I have a proposal into my clients, and we are waiting to hear about the process," McIvor said.

He wouldn't offer any comment when asked who his clients are, nor would he confirm his competitor.

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy said that Atco Structures is building the camp itself as part of a partnership but he couldn't confirm who else was involved.

"I know there's some financing involved, I understand there's some guarantees in this kind of thing," Sturdy said. "There's quite a bit of money involved in putting together a camp of 2,000 people."

The mayor went on to say that the housing camp will be 75 per cent occupied by security personnel and that it's ultimately up to the security company staying there to decide where the camp will go.

The other 25 per cent of occupants are going to be VANOC personnel, who are "just sort of waiting to see what the security company wants to do."

Sturdy wouldn't mention the security company's name but Pique has learned it is Contemporary Security Canada, a consortium of three security companies that will be performing screening services at the 2010 Games.

The decision on where to situate the camp thus rides on Contemporary Security's shoulders, but thus far there's been no indication where it wants to place the camp. Sturdy hopes they'll settle on Pemberton.

"We have a location, we have servicing, we've been working on this for a long time," he said. "We have a temporary use (permit) in place, everything's ready to go. ...We've got a serviced industrial park which is well-suited for this kind of thing, as opposed to a driving range without services."

Sturdy added that Pemberton "won't feel as involved" in the Olympics if there isn't significant activity taking place in the community.

A source with Contemporary Security Canada said nothing has been finalized yet as to where the work camps will be situated and that it's "premature" for the consortium to be commenting.

To situate the camp in Whistler, the Resort Municipality would have to approve a TCUP for the project, and as the municipality tells it, there hasn't even been an application.

A spokeswoman with the municipality said she's spoken to Mike Vance, general manager of policy and program development, and confirmed that inquiries have been made about situating a housing camp on the driving range but nothing has been finalized.



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