Squamish council moves up discussion of turf field 

Council votes to discuss process and costs before next regular meeting

After their June 21 decision to award $400,000 in Squamish Sport Legacy Funding to build an artificial turf field, bringing the total funding to roughly $1 million with money from the association and grant money, Squamish council debated how soon to release the funds and discuss whatever funding that the district will have to make up to see the project through.

Given that the construction window is likely closed for this year, some councillors wondered what the rush is while others wanted some of the work to get underway. It was also clear that the councillors and district did not have enough information on what the total costs would be or other details of the construction.

"I want to know what we can get done with a million... so in the spring we can get building," said Councillor Patricia Heintzman.

Mayor Greg Gardner suggested booking some time at the July 26 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting to discuss the details of the project and give staff more time to come up with answers to their questions, but Paul Lalli made a motion to move up the discussion to the July 19 COW meeting so any motions could be passed in the regular council meeting that night - speeding up the process.

Both Mayor Gardner and Doug Race opposed the motion because of the timing, but lost the vote.

The discussions will include more on the release of funds and when to issue a Request for Proposals to design the field. There would be another RFP for the construction, which is estimated at between $1.5 million and $2 million.

The Squamish Soccer Association is having a difficult time with its existing fields, which are frequently closed because of wet weather. Instead, the soccer association has been booking time at the Quest University field, which is expensive for players and the league.


Council endorses land swap with province, First Nations

The revelation that a 94-year-old surveying area resulted in the construction of 12 private homes on 14 lots on Squamish Nation land sent the province scrambling to work out a deal to fix the problem. It's estimated that the lands in question are worth $4.5 million, but Squamish indicated that it would be open to land swaps as well as compensation.

At Squamish Council on Tuesday, councillors voted unanimously to pass on comments to the province regarding the sale and transfer of 210 acres of Crown lands in the District of Squamish to First Nations. While council did not object to the sale of the lands, council maintained that the zoning in the Official Community Plan would continue to apply to those lands. They also objected to including Lot 1 because it was part of a plan to expand the cemetery and requested that Lots 7 and 8 be designated for parks and recreation. As for the Ray Peters Trail, they asked for a minimum 10 metre setback from any development.

As well as the Crown land, Squamish Nation would take ownership of 99 hectares of land in the area that they would apply to add to their reserve lands.

Some members of Squamish council had misgivings about sending the letter to the province because of concerns that it could impact the relationship between the district and Squamish Nation, as well as the recent Intergovernmental Cooperation Accord they signed onto.

"My concern was this might upset our relationship with Squamish Nation and show bad faith on our part given our discussions and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Accord, and the number of projects we have on the go with First Nations," said Councillor Doug Race.

However, he was assured that the district's reply to the province was discussed with First Nations, and they did not object to any of the district's requests.

"My only concern is that Squamish Nation might take this the wrong way and now that concern is alleviated," said Race before voting in favour of the letter to the province. The recommendations to the province passed unanimously.





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