May 1, 2018 4:49 pm
Updated: May 1, 2018 4:52 pm

Housing is so bad in Whistler one business owner bought his staff somewhere to live

One Whistler business owner took matters into his own hands when he realized “staff literally didn’t have a place to stay."

Tourism Whistler

With the cost of housing in Whistler growing so rapidly, one local business owner is being forced to get creative to house his staff.

Prices from an average home rose from $880,000 in 2016, to more than $1 million in 2017.

LISTEN: Whistler business owner bought a house so that his employees have somewhere to live

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Even a craigslist ad posted in January, and later deleted in, listed a whopping rental price of $6,000 a month for a one-bedroom condo in Whistler.

READ MORE: 1-bedroom apartment in Whistler lists for $6,000 a month

It’s left a bitter taste for those that want to work at or near the resort, and it’s put business owners like Russel Kling on the ropes to cover the costs of a home for his workers.

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“We went to the greatest length and actually purchased a house to try and de-risk the business,” Kling told CKNW’s The Lynda Steele Show.

“We’re in a stage now where people will tell you that the first question potential employees will ask when they come for job interviews is, ‘do you have staff housing.’”

Kling is owner of the soon-to-be opened Pangea Hotel, Canada’s first pod accommodation. But a hotel requires workers for the business to run, and those workers require a place to live.

He explained he was willing to dish out seven figures for a house and adds that living spaces in Whistler have become “a real problem.”

The rooms in the house will be rented to staff, but Kling said the rent charged will be used to cover costs, not make a profit. He said they needed to create worker accommodation because “staff literally didn’t have a place to stay.”

READ MORE: Whistler employees being squeezed by real estate boom: Report

“The stuff that’s on the market now in the two to three million dollar range, is stuff that you wouldn’t want to put the guy you just fired in,” he said.

Kling stresses the need for more housing stock in Whistler and comments that he’s not sure what he would’ve done if he wouldn’t have been able to purchase a house.

“It’s fantastic that Whistler’s doing well, it’s fantastic that businesses are growing, new businesses want to come, that creates demand and really, the only solution is fix the [housing] supply side,” he said.

Kling’s hotel opens in August, 2018.

  • With files from Simon Little and Amy Judd

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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