An Open Letter:
Mayor, Mayor & Council, CAO, GM Planning and Planning Staff,
I am writing this open letter because I’m very concerned about the decisions being made and the direction being taken by the current Council and Administration. I have no confidence that there is any overarching vision that reflects the soul of Squamish, that reflects who we are. Decisions appear to be made in isolation. Densification throughout our community appears to be the order of the day without considering the cumulative effects of such growth. Squamish lacks an overall district-wide transportation plan, including a crucial plan for a second exit to and from an already crowded downtown.
The District moves to approve high rise buildings in our downtown and moves to densify our neighbourhoods are tearing asunder the nature and qualities that we love about Squamish, leaving residents disillusioned and angry.
Equally concerning is that all this development is being approved and built ahead of improving our infrastructure capable of serving the hundreds upon hundreds of new people added to our community and that is already pushed to its infrastructure capacity and limits.
Is there really a vision for Squamish? If there is, I am sad to say, no one I am in contact with knows what it is. So, who is really pulling the strings? Is it staff? Is it the Mayor? Is it Council? Is it the out-of-town investor? Whoever it is, it is not home-grown!
I am seeing a growing discontent because Squamish citizens – the people you represent and who staff work for – do not feel that Council is reflecting the true nature of where most of our community wants to us to go.
I am speaking as someone who has lived in Squamish for over forty years and has contributed over twenty-five years of volunteer service to various community endeavours. Squamish is home for me and my family. I love Squamish.
I am not making these observations lightly. I appreciate that the Mayor, Council and staff have a difficult job given the many demands placed on them. And I can’t even begin to contemplate the complexities brought into the mix by provincial and federal governance regulations. However, my concerns for the integrity and future of our community lead me to offer these observations and suggestions.
We Need & Have The Right To Know
This Council and administration has already approved no small number of high-rise projects for the downtown and Hunter Place areas.
We have the right to have full disclosure on the details of all these projects:
- The name and address of each project
- The number of stories of each project
- The number of residents in each project
- The number of businesses and employees in each project
- The parking space of each project
- What contingency the District has for the event that each of these project occupants end up parking on District streets
- The construction timeframe of each project
- The impact each project will have on local residents
- A commitment to provide timely (weekly/monthly) updates about project work
- The name and contact information for each project
- What community amenity/amenities each project is giving to Squamish
For years Squamish has been gathering monies in-lieu of including the full allotment of parking spaces in approved developments.
Give Squamish residents a full accounting of these funds
Squamish is my home and has given much to my family and me. I offer these ideas to help further the discussion of how we can remain a beautiful, vibrant community and reflects our collective nature. Given the pressures of our modern world, this takes vision, open dialogue and careful planning. I question whether our community values truly are reflected in the decisions that this Council and staff are making. Sadly, it appears that we are being overwhelmed by growth foisted upon us by outside investors and welcomed by our current Mayor, Council and Planning.
Thank you for your time.
While many of these ideas may not be new to you, I do hope they offer some guidance to creating a Squamish we can all enjoy, one that reflects who we are and how we want to grow.
CC – Squamish Media