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 7 of 8

People arriving from other countries numbered at 100 in 2005, down from 620 five years before. Immigrants make up 21 per cent of the town’s population, less than the provincial average, but still a big enough group to be felt on the market.

“The international market has become a significant factor in Squamish,” notes Salmon. “When I first started in this, they drove right past and onto Whistler and wouldn’t stop in Squamish other than for coffee. So now we have a significant international population. I have a number of clients who don’t live here full time, but they come from all over. I have one gentleman from Dubai and some from the Netherlands. And then I have the international group that has moved here permanently. They have young families.”

Families are appearing in greater numbers, a phenomenon that will reverberate in schools, rec centres and parks. Though he’s a bachelor, Foster’s brother isn’t. The sibling recently moved to Squamish, too, bringing with him his wife and kid, also as a result of LaFramboise’s agenting. At the same time, and for many of the same reasons, singles like Foster are here to stay. “In the long term, as far as my career goes, if my next position is in North Van or West Van, I can drive down there. Once this highway is done, it’ll be a 45 minute drive to Lonsdale.”

Peering past the boom

Lancaster can’t shake the odd anxious pang. As all these houses become homes, change rushes the town at a terrific pace, and it’s obvious there’s no bluff behind the charge. A significant and permanent personality makeover is already underway at all corners of the district. Managing it in government and academic circles is one thing; understanding it on street corners and in living rooms is something else entirely.

“The thing I’m a little bit scared about is the housing,” he says. “You’ve got almost a tripling in the housing stock, and that’s a terrifying thing. I knew Squamish when it was a small logging town. It’s a completely different thing today and it will be more so in the future. And that’s a terrifying thing for people.”

But a slowdown is underway, and it offers a chance for everyone to collect themselves, to sedate their jackhammering hearts and take stock of the work they’ve done and the work that remains.

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