Staff Housing Strategy
The 2006 Ski Area Management Guidelines and the 2018 Site Guidelines states that employee housing, except those required for security reasons, will be provided in the near-by communities. Additionally, Sunshine Village has several units in the upper village which continue to provide accommodation for staff. The on-mountain staff accommodation units are operationally critical due to the remote location of the Village and the Sunshine Mountain Lodge at the top of the gondola.
Staff housing has always been a challenge for virtually all mountain ski areas in North America. Fortunately, in the Bow Valley, winter is low season for tourists so there is less of a demand from businesses for staff housing in the winter than in the summer. This allows Sunshine Village and its employees to rent excess staff accommodation bed capacity in the winter from 3rd parties. That being the case, the towns of Banff, Canmore, and the City of Calgary supply enough accommodation overall for the Sunshine Village staff in winter to make up for any shortfall in the amount of accommodation Sunshine Village controls directly.
Sunshine Village is open for approximately 190 days during the winter, from the weekend closest to Remembrance Day to Victoria Day in late May. In the summer, Sunshine Village operates the hotel, lodges, sightseeing lifts, and a hiking operation from late June to late-September.
The number of staff that Sunshine Village has on its payroll, including temporary and part time individuals, peaks at approximately 800 during the high winter season and 250 in the summer. Of that total, approximately 10-20 work at the Calgary Sales Office and live in the city of Calgary.
The 2018 Site Guidelines do not anticipate expanding specific summer use facilities which, would add significant staff. Construction projects generate temporary employment during the summer, but Sunshine Village has adequate on-site housing for those workers.
Inventory of Existing Housing:
Sunshine Village has five buildings in the upper Village that provide staff accommodations in both the winter and the summer.
Units in the upper Village (175 beds):
- Mountain Holme
Additionally, Sunshine Village contracts approximately 70-80 beds with third party accommodations at the Banff Springs Hotel and the HI Banff Alpine Centre. Sunshine Village rents excess staff accommodation beds that these companies do not need in the winter.
Winter Seasonal Staff Projection:
For illustrative purposes, this chart is based on full build-out of the ski area under the 2018 Site Guidelines:
Staff who do not live in Sunshine Village controlled units live in housing tied through their partners job, RV/Van type accommodation, RVs with homes elsewhere, owner occupied and other rental units. Some workers commute from Calgary, Exshaw or Cochrane.
Sunshine Village expects to house most of its staff at the upper Village and in the towns of Banff and Canmore. Those employees that work in the Calgary Sales Office will live in the city. The communities of Banff and Canmore have been aggressively approving and developing additional rental units for service workers. Winter is slower than summer and, as in the past, it is reasonably expected that this additional capacity will be available for meeting winter employee housing demands, which is when Sunshine Village has its greatest time of need.
Sunshine Village will continue to make arrangements with other 3rd party landlords as this is an efficient way to supply housing for Sunshine Village staff members. The housing exists in the winter in the Bow Valley as the inventory is counter-seasonal (built for summer and underutilized in the winter).
Sunshine Village is actively looking at ways to be more efficient with its staff including cross utilization and the use of new technology. Opportunities are emerging with how tickets are sold and checked, automated food distribution and ordering, etc. For example, Sunshine Village has recently launched a mobile (cell phone) ticketing system where visitors can purchase on their mobile device and go straight to the lift to be scanned electronically, bypassing the ticket office.
At full build-out per the 2018 Site Guidelines, Sunshine Village projects that 885 staff will be required in the winter (approximately a 10% increase from current), and much fewer during the summer. With the inventory of housing at the upper Village, combined with housing in Banff, Canmore and Calgary, workforce housing will be sufficient to handle the current and additional staff needs.
Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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