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Squamish council notes

Recycling, employment lands and recreation mulled over at first significant meeting

A local entrepreneur was cut out of a bear-proofing gig this week, as the District of Squamish renewed and reconfigured a contract with Carney’s Waste Systems that’ll see recycling depots decommissioned in favour of curbside collection.

The clash between Russell Roy of Critter Guard Lock Systems and Owen Carney came to an overdue conclusion after Manager of Operations Gordon Prescott found no proof of a deal between the two businessmen, though he did come across a memorandum of understanding.

Councillor Corinne Lonsdale was the only member of the new government to vote against awarding the contract, citing a trend of encouragement council had displayed in its dealings with Roy. Previously, he had been given a contract to fit his systems of garbage totes in Timbertown trailer park. Further, he had his design tested and approved by local and American certifiers.

“I only know one system of bear-proofing in this community,” Lonsdale said. “I would rather see this be shared between the two of them. I would not like to see all this go to Mr. Carney.”

That didn’t fly with Councillors Doug Race and Paul Lalli, both of whom said the district has no right to tell a company how to source its materials.

“That would be like us telling them what type of trucks to buy,” said Race.

The spat between Roy and Carney came to light in September, when Roy appeared before council to complain about Carney cutting him out of the deal. Carney wanted to do have the locks built in house. He said Roy’s systems are inadequate, a charge the entrepreneur denied. Both men were chastised by then Councillor Greg Gardner — now mayor — for putting the municipality in the awkward position of choosing between two local businesses. Gardner implored them to resolve the conflict on their own.

“What I’m hearing from Mr. Prescott is that has not occurred,” he said during this week’s meeting.

Lonsdale attempted to have the whole thing deferred, but council instead took a brief recess to mull over the information.

In the end, Carney’s secured the contract, which will last for 60 months. Curbside collection will begin in early January, and, as a result, garbage will only be collected every two weeks. However, the district has retained the right to revisit the bi-weekly approach in the event it becomes problematic. In that event, the contract would be amended, and new costs would be introduced. Currently, the system will not result in increased costs to taxpayers, though the lock systems will run $1.60 per month over five years.


Getting ripped

Riun Blackwell remembers November’s race to district hall. There were 18 people to pester back then, exhausting stuff, even on the most energetic of days. Now there’s only seven — and decisions made on the chamber floor are a bit weightier than those promised on the campaign trail.

And so it was that Blackwell appeared before council to showcase his idea to change the junior lounge and daycare in Brennan Park into a weight room. Called Weight Room 2009, the proposal is not without merit, nor is it without support from people like Race and Gardner.

“Swimming pools and weight rooms complement each other,” Blackwell said. “I was informed that Nordic skiers coming to town have the same problem as us locals: They can’t afford the private drop-in rates.”

Further, continued Blackwell, a weight room would be the indoor backbone to a town that brands itself as an outdoor recreation capital, and, as Olympic fever rises, there’ll be no shortage of users.

And yet, there are a couple of private facilities in town, and seldom do businesses enjoy competition from government. Further, there are already users of the space, however weak they may be. And so council simply directed staff to look into the issue.


The multiple-family plague

There’s a time and a place for everything, even tired adages. To Lonsdale, the time to approve rezoning near Eagle Run Shopping Centre is most definitely not right now, especially if the plan is to shift land use from employment to residential.

“I don’t know that we need another multiple-family residential building,” she lamented. “I do know we need jobs.”

Thing is, said Director of Planning Cameron Chalmers, job lands are envisioned in the business park, downtown and on the Oceanfront peninsula. With the current Eagle Run zoning allowing for little more than restaurants, garden nurseries and building supply stores, with second level residential, the owner is less than enthusiastic about upgrading the mall. Rather, he prefers a three-storey apartment complex with no more than 80 units. And, to sweeten the deal, there’s an affordable housing contribution.

But Lonsdale was unmoved. The lone dissenter, she voted against first and second reading.