Regina hotel lets construction crews work, sleep on site

A Regina hotel that has been fully booked for the Grey Cup is letting construction crew sleep on site as it rushes to have renovations done in time for the big game.

Saskatchewan Construction Association calls the practice uncommon

With the Grey Cup three months away, a Regina hotel under renovations is allowing construction crews to temporarily live on site while they finish the job. The CBC's Dani Mario has more. 1:56

A Regina hotel that has been fully booked for the Grey Cup is letting construction crew sleep on site as it rushes to have renovations done in time for the big game.

A DoubleTree Hotel owned by the Hilton chain is taking over the old Regina Inn and manager Mike Wurster is hoping it will be fully habitable by November. Currently the hotel is closed to paying customers.

About 60 of the 130 construction workers at the site are from out-of-province and are living in the top two floors of the hotel while they finish building.

"If you look way up at night, you may see the odd person standing on the balcony and that's one of the employees of the construction company," said Wurster.

He said the construction work is on schedule, with crews putting in 12 hour days, six days a week.

But it hasn't exactly been a luxurious stay for workers who've been living at the hotel for the past two weeks.

A planned power outage last weekend left them without hot water, elevators or air conditioning.

"They are still using some of the old Regina Inn furnishings," said Wurster. "The new furnishings will be [put in] as they leave the hotel. But they're still happy to be living close to where they're working."

Once the hotel is close to completion, most of the workers will be leaving, so renovations will start on those floors as they head out.

The general contractor, Ontario's Sherway Contracting, said it's common for crews to have this type of living arrangement, but the practice is raising some eyebrows in Saskatchewan.

Mark Cooper, with the Saskatchewan Construction Association, said contractors he spoke to think it is a little strange.

"They actually chuckled a little bit because they found it a little unusual," said Cooper. "In fact, they'd never heard of that practice before."

Cooper said he has heard of a few out-of-towners living in local workers' basements, but nothing like what's happening at the hotel.

The construction company said it has done the same thing in other provinces before and the hotel said it has permits from the city to allow for the unconventional guests.

The hotel is hoping to have a soft opening on Nov. 1.