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Carpooling, businesses and residents compete for parking in Brackendale

Every Sunday, the streets of Squamish turn into parking lots as revelers descend from Whistler. The highway locks up from Depot Road to downtown, and side streets are overburdened. Accordingly, cars in Squamish are top of mind.

Indeed, they made up the bulk of a council discussion this week surrounding a rezoning application for the Eagle Run Village. The proponent would like to rezone the northern end of that lot to residential in the hope of creating an additional 22 units of rental housing.

In return, said project manager Brad Cooper, the proponent is offering $400,000 in off site services, $72,000 to the affordable housing fund and about $70,000 in development cost charges, as well as other permit fees. To boot, district coffers will reap some $40,000 per year in taxation.

Problem is, said residents who turned out for the public hearing, parking is already an issue in that area, and extra residents will only make it worse if the district doesn't somehow engender additional lots.

"I think you should be very careful about this parking aspect," said Donald Graham, a resident living near the development.

According to Graham and others, the lots are stuffed every morning with vehicles belonging to carpoolers, and the possibility of 22 units, compounded with a potential expansion of the building, will only aggravate the situation.

On the housing stock file, Councillor Corrine Lonsdale pressed Cooper on accessibility, specifically for the disabled. Wider hallways, for example, are crucial, she said. Cooper noted that the development includes an elevator.

This was the first public hearing to come before the new council. In a procedural twist, Mayor Greg Gardner postponed third reading, saying council would now take a week to ruminate on the fruits of a given hearing. He cautioned councillors not to communicate with residents or developers during that stretch.

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