Controversial Squamish development gets green light 

Paradise Trails developer happy to finally move forward

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MOVING AHEAD The promoters of the Paradise Trails development can move ahead with their work after four years of navigating through District of Squamish conditions.

Michael Goodman has been a frustrated developer for many years. But his level of frustration has dropped thanks to a District of Squamish (DOS) vote that allows him to move ahead with a project his development team call Paradise Trails.

The proposed development in the Paradise Valley between Highway 99 and the Cheakamus River calls for the creation of more than 80 residential housing lots of up to two acres in size, a public equine sports facilities, public riding and hiking trails along the Cheakamus River and a community benefit package worth more than $2 million.

The project proponents estimate tax revenues to the DOS from the development will equal $48 million over 50 years.

In giving final approval to a comprehensive development zone bylaw for the project at a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, DOS council ended an adoption process that reached third reading back in 2008.

The DOS put conditions in place in 2008 before adoption would be granted and while the developer insisted the conditions were met, an adoption vote didn't get in front of council members until this week.

Council was scheduled to vote on adoption back in July but when Goodman learned that staff was recommending against adoption, he asked that his item be removed from the agenda. The issue found its way back onto the agenda with a staff recommendation to grant final adoption of the comprehensive development bylaw this week.

Despite now being allowed to move ahead with his development, Goodman remains critical of how the DOS operates.

"It seems ridiculous that you could set conditions for a developer to meet, the developer goes through four years of process, meets all the requirements then (staff) recommends in the negative that it not be passed," said Goodman. "How is that possible?"

The members of council all voted to grant the bylaw change but Councillor Patricia Heintzman said she was holding her nose while voting.

"I really don't think it is a good development," she said.

Councillor Doug Race said he supported the project moving forward but said there's a significant amount of work still to be done to ensure the area is safe.

"That (safety) is one of those issues that I don't think you can shortcut on," said Race.

Goodman said his company now has to research where to best locate a flood prevention berm and will report the findings to the DOS.

Lawsuit follows cinema closure in Squamish

The movie theatre in Squamish is now closed and on the heels of the failure of the operation comes a lawsuit filed by the company that owns Garibaldi Village.

According to documents filed with B.C. Supreme Court, Garibaldi Village Property L.P. claims it is owed $707,276 in unpaid rent from the movie theatre space at the mall along Highway 99.

The court documents list Resort Cinemas of Whistler ULC, Marshall C. Smith, Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas Inc., Resources Financial Corp, Metro Canada Corp and Metropolitan Theatres Corp. as the defendants.

The theatre stopped operations after Aug. 9.

The president of Metropolitan Theatres, David Corwin, said at the time that the economics of operating a cinema in Squamish just don't work — even with a liquor licence, which was considered earlier this year.

The five screens in Squamish were built with between 100 and 160 seats in each cinema.

The original developers of Garibaldi Village were pressured by the council of the day to include a movie theatre in their development plans as residents craved a cinema following the closure of the town's original single-screen theatre in 1990.

The current owners of the mall have applied for a zoning change so the building can be used for other purposes.

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