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Whistler Home Builders Association gets serious



Builders making plans for the future

Tough times are coming for the construction industry in Whistler.

Whistler is reaching buildout, several builders have potentially lost projects because the Nita Lake proposal was halted, and home building is slowing down as the real estate market tries to balance supply with demand.

Add to that a perceived lack of respect for the local building talent in the corridor, which has led in some cases to builders being overlooked for local projects, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble.

That’s why the Sea to Sky chapter of the Canadian Home Builders Association believes it’s critical to mobilize now and be heard in the community.

"We have a lot to say about these issues and we want our voice heard," said Tim Regan, president of the local chapter of the CHBA.

"We want this chronic invalidation, the straw in our teeth stereotyping, to end because it is invalid and derogatory and it is counterproductive.

"And we will make our voice heard politically to achieve our goals."

Indeed several members of the CHBA, including Regan, took part in this week’s council meeting to make their views heard on the library project.

"We need to look at the economics of these decisions and where the local builders could help is that we have expertise in these areas so we should be involved in the process," said Regan.

"We could bring benefit to the process."

Local builders were also not approached recently when Intrawest decided to build up to 12 multi-million dollar homes in Kadenwood.

Beyond all that, said Regan, is the fact that the trades are basically the middle class of Whistler and if steps aren’t taken to try and make sure they have a livelihood here in the resort that population will disappear.

"We are one of the largest contributing incomes to the community," said Regan.

"We are one of the largest contributing employers in the community, so we are a big economic engine. Right now we have had a soft winter and we are likely to have a soft summer and this community has not seen that construction money for some time.

"It’s going to notice because I can tell you it will be the luxury items, like season’s passes, restaurant meals and new skis that go first."

He points to the lost Nita Lake Lodge project as an example of the trickle down effect in the community. If the $80 million project was done locally that would have returned nine fold into the community, he said.