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District of Squamish shines light on permits following criticism

New brochure informs contractors of need to apply early for building permits



A high-profile renovation that had a restaurant owner accusing municipal hall of taking too long to issue permits has resulted in the creation of a new information brochure in Squamish.

Christie Smith, the communications manager for the District of Squamish (DOS), said a brochure was created by staff this month to help people better understand permit issues. Reading from the brochure, Smith said at least eight weeks should be allowed for the permitting process at the DOS.

"Each permit is processed case by case," said Smith. "Applications are processed in the order they are received."

Two recent business renovations in downtown Squamish paint two very different pictures of the process. On the west side of Cleveland Avenue a space that once housed a Greek restaurant was converted into a clothing store. Across the street on the east side of the road Chef Big D's expanded into a neighbouring space.

Chef Big D's new expanded operation is open after owner Darin Stangowitz publicly shared his permitting frustrations while his restaurant was undergoing renovations. He put a notice in his restaurant window at one point proclaiming Squamish was not open for business.

He accused the District of Squamish of holding up the reopening of his restaurant.

Juliana Egyed, the owner of a new Cleveland Avenue clothing store called The Whistler Stop, said her landlord and contractors took care of all the permit issues relating to the renovation of the space, adding that it was smooth sailing as far as dealing with the DOS and the other permitting agencies. Egyed opened her new store after she was told she had to leave her former location next to Valhalla Pure at Squamish Station so Valhalla could expand.

"They didn't touch anything until the permit was in place," Egyed said of the work done before she opened her new location. "They were very conscious about it and they didn't have any problems."

Stangowitz didn't want to discuss the issue when contacted this week by Pique. The renovation is complete and his restaurant was busy Tuesday afternoon.

During the period when he wasn't permitted to operate he said he was losing $2,500 a day. The DOS wanted Stangowitz to get the permits required for his renovation and then have the property inspected before the doors reopened.

Stangowitz applied for the permits he needed and the DOS ultimately fast-tracked approvals and inspection.

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