Squamish council has voted to allow completion of the half-built skateboard bowl under the bridge to Quest University.
The bowl was started by a group of volunteers who didn't seek approvals and didn't consult with the people who live in the area before construction began. At a Committee of the Whole meeting last week, district staff recommended the bowl be removed, but Councillor Bryan Raiser asked council to take a different stance. He proposed giving the bowl builders permission to finish the project, then allow the bowl a one-year trial.
Raiser's idea wasn't supported but one member of council, Patricia Heintzman, wasn't at the meeting last week.
Raiser brought the issue up again this week at the regular meeting of council on Tuesday, April 1.
Councillor Ron Sander opposed the move to allow the project volunteers to continue building the bowl, which is being constructed by volunteers using donated materials. Mayor Rob Kirkham and Councillor Doug Race backed Sander's tough stance.
"I don't support it because the residents that are immediately impacted in the area don't support it and they're unhappy that an illegal activity occurred basically in their backyard," said Sander.
Race said it was unfair of the volunteers to build the bowl without consulting anyone.
"I don't think this is the way to proceed," said Race.
Linda Glenday, the District of Squamish general manager of development, engineering and operations, said staff did some research after the committee meeting.
"Staff did contact all the immediate neighbours that had provided letters, emails and phone calls to us that they were opposed," Glenday said.
"Every neighbour that we contacted and spoke to was vehemently opposed in general and also to a one-year trial period."
Raiser described the area as a de facto youth centre.
"The project is structurally sound, built and funded entirely by volunteer labour, which is fantastic," said Raiser. "I want to see this happen more with district input.
"If someone wants to do something awesome in our community then I say go for it."
Councillor Heintzman warned supporters that council will take action if the bowl proves to be too disruptive.
"I'm hopeful that it will be a great amenity, but if it's not, you have to realize that we will have to take it down if it just doesn't work," said Heintzman.
Councillor Ted Prior said he'd like to see skateboarders look at other potential locations for bowls.
"To me, there's 'do nothing' or 'do something' and I certainly lean toward 'do something,'" Prior said.
Heintzman, Raiser, Prior and Councillor Susan Chapelle voted for the one-year trial.
The builders of the bowl estimate the value of donated project materials and labour at more than $100,000. When neighbours became aware of the project the volunteer construction team was issued stop work orders and asked to consult the residents in the neighbourhood.
August 28, 2014, 2:00 PM
Tenants signing longer-term, renewing year-after-year, real estate rep says More...
August 28, 2014, 1:03 AM
Room night bookings up 10 per cent over last summer's record-breaking July More...
August 28, 2014, 1:02 AM
Upcoming fundraiser to support further phases meant to make the backcountry safer More...