Normally a new gas station opening is not altogether newsworthy.
But for a community that has been home to just one service station — the Husky in Creekside — for the past decade, the news of a new Chevron in Rainbow was met with fervent anticipation.
"It's interesting to think that gas stations are this exciting," said Adam Naundorf, operator of the Green Lake Station in Rainbow Plaza, which had its soft opening on June 21 after months of delays.
"For us, it's good to finally start operating," he added. "The comments from people who have been coming in have been so happy. They're like, 'Oh my god, you guys are finally open!'"
The 223-square-metre site includes four fuel dispensers and eight pumps, electric and Tesla charging stations, a convenience store and café. Each pump offers regular, diesel and 94 octane fuel. There are also plans for an outdoor patio area to open this summer.
For drivers like Dan O'Keefe, who regularly makes the commute from Emerald, the new Chevron station is a welcome addition to the resort.
"We spend most of our time in Whistler driving from Emerald to the village and back, and getting fuel means an extra trip all the way down to Creekside, so it's pretty convenient to have fuel on that trip," he said. "It probably saves 10 to 15 kilometres of unnecessary driving."
Beyond the added convenience for drivers on the north side of town, Naundorf hopes to offer customers an unrivaled in-store experience.
"Overall we're trying to offer the nicest gas station potentially in Canada, if not even North America. That's only because we've designed it to be very nice when you come in," he said.
Naundorf is dead serious when he says another goal is to provide "the best bathrooms in Whistler" at his store.
"People who stop when they're travelling want to stop where there are nice bathrooms. It's good for business," he said.
Other retailers slated for the 2,230-square-metre Rainbow Plaza include a Pikola Espresso Bar, a private liquor store and a Your Independent Grocer store, scheduled to open before the end of the year.
Whistler has been a one-gas-station town since 2006, when Petro Canada closed its Creekside location after its underground fuel storage tanks were found to be leaking. Although the resort entertained several gas-station proposals since then, none ever saw the light of day.
The Green Lake Station's official grand opening is scheduled for sometime later this summer, Naundorf said.