Where the proposed Re-Build-It-Centre will go is still up for debate, with the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) confirming last week that their board has not made a final decision on the Callaghan or Function Junction sites.
“We are looking at a number of different factors, and being that it is a retail operation, we are concerned that we can drive traffic to that location, wherever that location is,” explained Lorna van Straaten, administrator for WCSS, on Tuesday, Oct. 21.
Funding for the Re-Build-It-Centre has not been secured, and WCSS needs to pick a location and develop a thorough business plan before they can move forward.
The Re-Build-It-Centre would be similar to the existing Re-Use-It-Centre in Function, but it would focus on building materials, doors, windows, and kitchen cabinets. Like the Re-Use-It-Centre, revenue would support WCSS programming.
The problem with the Function site is that space would be limited, making parking next to the centre difficult and also preventing any expansion of the Re-Build-It-Centre in the future.
On the other hand, WCSS are concerned that the Callaghan location is too remote and that building on undeveloped land would be more costly for the non-profit organization.
“When you are dealing with raw land, there are quite a number of costs associated with getting that land serviced,” said van Straaten.
“Getting a business up and running at a location that would be starting with raw land is considerably more expensive.”
She added that when the WCSS surveyed the community about the two locations, 99 per cent of people preferred that the Re-Build-It-Centre be in Function.
Despite these concerns, municipal staff and council are in favour of building the centre in the Callaghan.
During an update to council last week, Brian Barnett, general manager of environmental services for the municipality, said municipal staff believe the Callaghan’s distant location should not impact the centre’s success.
“What we have convinced ourselves is that the facility does not need to have the same strategy as the Re-Use-It-Centre,” said Barnett.
“The Re-Build-It-Centre is for a more specific market — the construction market — so it does not need to be located in a preferred location from a general public perspective.”
He also said that the Re-Use-It-Centre has expanded three times over the last three years, so it would be shortsighted to build the Re-Build-It-Centre in such a tight spot.
Council voted 4-2 in support of the recommendation, with councillors Eckhard Zeidler and Ralph Forysth voting in opposition based on nuances in the wording.