August 29, 2008 Features & Images » Feature Story

The housing onion 

Peeling back the layers of Squamish’s residential real estate boom

click to enlarge District of Squamish planning director Cameron Chalmers. Photo by Dave Buzzard
  • District of Squamish planning director Cameron Chalmers. Photo by Dave Buzzard

Page 4 of 8

There’s also the district’s affordable housing strategy, which it fuels through residential developments, either in the form of cash contribution or discounted units.

Lay of the land

Councillor Greg Gardner watches all this activity intently. When the transportation consultants delivered their presentation to council, the growth figures gave him something of a jolt.

A bedroom community is the nest of the commuter and the culture he or she represents. The bulk of its identity is residential, and its inhabitants flock elsewhere to earn their keep. With this reality comes a number of social, economic and environmental byproducts, and Gardner would prefer they not take a strong hold in Squamish. But those growth figures, he worries, are nudging the community in that direction anyway.

“I certainly think we have to ensure that we have a balance of land uses going forward, and that information confirms my belief that we haven’t been developing in a balanced manner in the past few years,” he says. “And the imbalance is that there’s a disproportionate amount of residential development versus commercial development. And that’s very troubling from a community point of view.”

A father in gridlock, the logic goes, is less likely to blow a coach’s whistle. Parenting from an office on the far side of interminable automotive congestion is no easy task. Further, dollars earned are often dollars spent, and there’s ample opportunity to unfold a wallet throughout the workday. Finally, commuter culture necessarily seats itself behind the wheel of a car, and this is, after all, the most green-conscious age we’ve known.

And then there’s that tax base.

“I’ve just seen information that’s said that in the city of Vancouver, the amount of taxes paid by residents pays for 60 per cent of services consumed by those residents, where as commercial taxpayers pay well in excess of the amount of taxes over the amount consumed,” says Gardner. “So what that means is that if you have community that’s 100 per cent residential, your taxes would be twice as much as they are now.”

Readers also liked…

  • Death in the Alpine

    Social media is changing our relationship to risk, with deadly consequences
    • Jun 10, 2018
  • Getting Lost On A Bike

    Mountain biking? Nay. Touring? Not quite. Hiking? Heck no! Welcome to the world of bikepacking
    • Aug 12, 2018

Latest in Feature Story

More by Paul Carlucci

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation