An application that would licence the Garibaldi at Squamish (G@S) resort to draw water from two local creeks and store it in reservoirs to use year-round does not have the support of Squamish District Council.
Councillors voted unanimously to send a letter in opposition of the water licence application to the Ministry of the Environment, in response to the ministry's invitation for comment by the District of Squamish.
Mick Gottardi, director of community development for the district, explained why the staff recommended that course of action, while making it clear that Squamish still has no official position on the G@S development as a whole.
"The issues we have with the water licence application surround a number of the water supply issues for the development proposal," he said. "We would not support the issuance of a licence at this time. The reason for that is that there are some very substantive issues... both in terms of the amount of water the development at buildout will need and the ability of the tributaries to supply that water."
The G@S application would allow the development to draw water from two creeks that feed into the Brohm River during the freshet period when water levels are highest, between May and June. That water would be stored in huge reservoirs that would supply potable water to up to 5,700 homes, water for landscaping, irrigation for public areas and two proposed golf courses, and snowmaking for the proposed ski area.
"In our view there are some fundamental issues that need to be understood well before developing a water licence and going forward with a development proposal," said Gottardi. "To supply water on that basis is unusual. It's not necessarily not viable, but the data that supports that method of extracting that water is pretty limited at this time. We have only two years of monitoring on the tributaries."
Gottardi said more information is needed, including historical records on precipitation, trends on watersheds in similar geoclimatic zones, and professional opinions on storing such a huge amount of water.
The deadline to comment on the water licence application by G@S proponents is Oct. 9.
Infrastructure money flows into Squamish
The District of Squamish is gearing up to spend $2,587,298 on infrastructure upgrades in the community, with funding from the federal Building Canada Fund and Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The province and district will match one-third of that amount for a total of over $3.8 million in upgrades.
The biggest share of the grant money will go towards the construction of a one kilometre sewer line on the Government Road Trunk Sewer Main, expanding the capacity of the existing line in anticipation of more growth and development in the area. That accounts for $2,030,950 of the total.
As well, $1,425,000 will be spent to replace the Garibaldi Highlands water pump station to increase the capacity to accommodate growth.
Another $425,000 will be spent to improve flood prevention along the Brackendale dyke by adding riprap rock a 350-metre section upstream of Fisherman's Park.
Kingswood Overpass upgrade goes ahead
Squamish District Council decided Tuesday evening that the Kingswood pedestrian bridge over the Sea to Sky Highway was too important to wait any longer, and voted to increase their draw from long-term debt from $500,000 to $750,000 to fund the project - even if it meant passing up the possibility of obtaining a provincial grant to help cover the cost of the project, which the District has already applied for.
As well, Councillor Rob Kirkham expressed concern that the $750,000 in long term debt applied for in the budget would not go towards the project for which it was originally intended, an upgrade of the landfill that will not happen this year.
Despite these issues the funding passed unanimously, with ISL Engineering agreeing to restore the bridge for $632,355 by the end of 2009.
As well as providing residents with a pedestrian overpass on a long stretch of highway without stoplights, the money will also go to refurbish the bridge to make it more visually appealing, while adding more safety features on both sides.
Ocean Point roads to get narrower
The Squamish Ocean Point property will be a little different than first presented after council approved a series of variances for the property that allow for narrower roads and more grass between the sidewalk and the curb. As well, developers cut the brightness of streetlights by half, reducing power consumption while also installing a different type of light fixtures to align with "dark skies" design principles and reduce light pollution.
Council approved the variances unanimously, although Councillor Doug Race asked municipal manager of engineering Doug French what impact the narrower street design might have on parking. The new design allows for parking on one side of the street instead of both sides in order to widen the landscaped boulevard between sidewalks and curbs and to enhance the pedestrian experience.
"I'm generally in support of narrower roadways and the benefits to pedestrians and the profile makes the streets look attractive, but my concern is that we're essentially losing a lane of parking... Are there other provisions for parking?" asked Race.
Chalmers said the development meets parking standards with room for more than one vehicle per unit and guest parking on site, and that they expect there to be enough parking.
"I will say this was a well thought-out process, and staff is confident this (parking) regime will work," he said.
OCP goes to open house
Next week the District of Squamish is inviting residents to voice their opinions on the draft Official Community Plan that was given first reading by council in July. The open house forums take place on Wednesday, Oct. 14 and Thursday, Oct. 15 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be a short introduction at 6 p.m., followed by an open discussion forum at 6:30 p.m.
The draft Official Community Plan, or OCP, is posted on the District website (www.squamish.ca), and spells out where different types of development will take place in the future and what areas will be protected in parks. Everything from the boundaries of industrial parks to bike trails is included in the OCP, with the goal of creating "smart" communities where people don't rely on cars, and where certain activities - industrial, commercial, residential, seniors housing and services are concentrated in specific areas.
Remembering Dr. LaVerne Kindree
For more than 60 years Dr. LaVerne Kindree has devoted his life to serving the people of Squamish, first and foremost as a health practitioner but also has a civic leader who looked out for the community at large.
A recipient of the Order Of Canada this past winter, Kindree's list of accomplishments include the Squamish Hospital, outreach to First Nations, the Squamish Health Care Foundation, the Squamish Chamber of Commerce, the Squamish Rotary Club, 23 years with the District of Squamish Council, eight years with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and more. Despite being involved with every aspect of community life for so many decades he also raised a family in Squamish, lobbied for a highway to Squamish and the establishment of Alice Lake Provincial Park, and found time to pursue a wide range of hobbies from woodworking to gardening.
Even after retirement he remained active in the medical community, and co-authored a study that proved the existence of Lyme disease in the province, making it easier for doctors to identify, test and treat patients.
He passed away on Sept. 26 at the age of 88.
A public memorial to Dr. LaVerne Kindree takes place this Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m. at Howe Sound Secondary School. In lieu of flowers the family is asking people to make donations to the Squamish Health Care Foundation's campaign to purchase a CT Scanner, in accordance with Dr. Kindree's wishes.