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Feature - Corridor dynamics

There’s much more than the Olympics and development projects on the horizon, there’s going to be a population shift

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"The exciting part about Britannia Beach from our town’s point of view is that it’s our front door and it doesn’t matter what we do within our community, we’re going to be judged on what Britannia Beach turns out to be.

"Britannia Beach is a huge project but it’s one that’s very important to Squamish and it’s one that’s going to get done because it’s so important to the Olympics.

"The federal government’s interested (in Britannia Beach), I know Victoria’s interested and the regional district’s interested because the opportunity’s there to be part of an investment."

Sutherland conceded the Britannia Beach project was complex but he was sure the will was there to fix it.

"There’s lots of other places in the world that have been neglected for long periods of time but things can get fixed up pretty easily and pretty quickly when the will exists to do it.

"The will we have right now, the will everyone has, is that in 2010 the whole world is going to be driving by and that gives good incentive for everyone to fix it up."

Hodson, from the Squamish Chamber of Commerce, agreed the incentive to do well was undeniable but she said the most positive thing about living in Squamish was that the community genuinely wants to be involved.

"At a meeting recently one gentlemen said, ‘we’ve been talking about it (development) for 15 years but this is the first time it feels like it’s going to happen’," Hodson said.

"We have advisory meetings up here and 150 turn up to each one. There’s a lot of communities that couldn’t care less, like in Vancouver if they had a meeting for development they wouldn’t get that many people to come out.

"You can feel the energy here, everybody that I know is on a committee of some kind."

Hodson said Squamish was extremely lucky to be in the position it’s in.

"The biggest challenge is to manage it because a lot of communities would die and our community’s struggling but there’s action being taken and there’s planning being done.

"There’s a lot of communities struggling after being hit with fires and the downturn in economy, but we’re extremely lucky that we’ve got all these projects going on."

Hodson said the waterfront development, in particular, could do for Squamish what Granville Island has done for Vancouver.

"It took Prince Rupert eight years to get all the ducks in a row and start ferry services and I think that’s what’s going to happen with us.