Squamish Council wants discounted transit passes for students 

Briefs from the Squamish Council meeting held on Tuesday, Sept. 18

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If Squamish council gets its wish a discounted monthly student transit pass program will be in place in November. As of Oct. 22 transit schedules in Squamish will meet school bell times at Howe Sound Secondary, Don Ross Secondary and Squamish Elementary.

Council members have endorsed a district subsidized student transit pass fee of $20 a month for all Squamish students.

The plan calls for the bus passes to be sold in the schools around Squamish.

The issue was discussed at a committee of whole on Tuesday and the committee’s recommendation will be on the next regular council meeting agenda on Oct. 2 for ratification.

Economic development initiatives moving forward

The creation of a comprehensive and strategic investment incentive program for the Downtown and Business Park areas has been approved. Council directed the District of Squamish (DOS) staff to use revitalization tax exemptions, parking regulation reductions, development cost charge reductions, changes in permitting fees and processes along with a comprehensive branding and marketing program for the strategy. The goal is to roll out an investment incentive program by May of next year.

EDCD Consulting looked into economic development initiatives in Squamish and made some recommendations on how the DOS can effectively move forward with its economic development strategies. The firm reported that Squamish should improve its land inventory information and its investment marketing initiatives. The firm also said Squamish needs to update the census data it gives to potential investors as the information the district is currently making available to investors is from 2006. The federal government updated Census data in 2011.

Mountain bike skills park approved

The Squamish Off-road Cycling Association (SORCA) is dreaming of bridges, berms, dirt jumps, log rides and rollers. The organization has asked Squamish Council to come up with $20,000 and a piece of land so a mountain bike skills park can be built on a piece of land at Brennan Park.

The requested money is part of a project budget of $115,000.

Jeff Cooke of SORCA said the project budget covers design, materials and labour for a park that will offer new and young mountain bike riders a safe and controlled place to practice biking skills.

The council members voted to direct DOS staff to work with SORCA and get the project underway. Cooke said that from the point of approval the project should take 150 days to complete.

Intersections get upgrades

Two highway intersections that have been a challenge for cyclists, pedestrians and people with disabilities are being improved.

The shoulder at Highway 99 and Industrial Way was widened and paved plus a wheelchair ramp was installed to make it easier to navigate the northeastern part of the intersection.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the improvements offer better access to the trail system in Squamish and the intersection is now a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists and those who use wheelchairs.

Similar work is planned for Commercial Way. Miller Capilano was contracted to do the work and the project is expected to be completed by the end of this month at a cost to the provincial government of $50,000.

Sister city extends invite to celebration

The mayor of Shimizu-town, Squamish’s sister city in Japan, wants mayor Rob Kirkham to visit Shimizu to be part of the community’s 50th anniversary celebration. Mayor Hiroyasu Yamamoto has pointed out to Kirkham that the city’s 50th anniversary coincides with the 10th anniversary of the relationship between Squamish and Shimizu.

Kirkham said he is interested in going to the celebration. The council members voted to discuss the issue further in upcoming budget discussions. The invitation letter from Shimizu indicated when the 50th anniversary celebration is taking place.

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