Roughly two dozen workers were laid off at the Skye development in downtown Squamish on Monday, a decision that Skye developer Thomas Ivanore laid directly at the feet of council.
On May 19, council voted against a change in zoning for Phase 3 of the project that would have converted 16 townhouses and 84 condos to 139 condos - something the developer requested as a result of changing market conditions. Specifically, he said that condo-style units were still selling in the economic downturn, while demand for townhouse accommodations has declined.
Now, without the change in zoning, Ivanore is claiming that he is having difficulty getting funding from the bank to continue with the project.
Mayor Greg Gardner said it was unfortunate if any jobs were lost, but he has yet to be petitioned by any members of council to reverse their May 19 decision.
"I know the developer has approached individual members of council about that, but at this point I, as mayor, have not received any request to reconsider," he said. "There is a provision that it can be brought back for reconsideration in 30 days."
Without that application for reconsideration Gardner's understanding is that the developer cannot reapply for rezoning until six months have passed.
Council put forward several objections to rezoning Phase 3 before it was rejected, including concerns over density, the proximity of that density to protected estuary lands, and the precedent it would set if developers were allowed to make major changes to the scope of their projects mid-stream in response to changing market conditions.
District of Squamish seeks feedback
The District of Squamish is seeking more public feedback on two items that were top of the agenda at a recent town hall meeting on June 23, the Community Power Project and the Sustainability Block.
The community power project is a run of river hydro project that would be owned and managed by the district as part of its efforts to reduce emissions and become more sustainable.
The Sustainability Block concept would designate one block or a cross-section of blocks for redevelopment to showcase infrastructure, sustainable design, energy efficiency and other innovations, providing a model that other blocks can adopt.
The survey is available at www.squamish.ca.