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Waterfront Landing Development clears major hurdle

Squamish development would include towers up to 12 storeys, house 3,500 residents

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A large-scale residential development that could add 3,500 residential beds to Squamish received fourth and final reading on June 16, allowing the proponents of Waterfront Landing to take the next steps in moving it forward.

Mayor Greg Gardner said it's been a long process to get the project to fourth reading but the final plans are consistent with Squamish's plans to revitalize its waterfront and downtown core.

"The developer is now in a position with the adoption to go out and market the project," said Gardner, as well as to prepare for the first of two phases of site servicing. "Part of our discussion at council was about the community amenity package and outside servicing and there is quite a significant package to go along with that."

The lead developer on the project is Pridham Development Inc., although Gardner understands that the actual construction will be contracted out to different companies in a bid process.

In total, the developers have pledged $9.3 million in community amenities, including $1.65 million for affordable housing and municipal facilities, as well as money for parks, for a new boardwalk that will link waterfront developments, trails, a public lagoon and other improvements to the 53-acre site on the south side of the Mamquam Blind Channel. The community will also benefit from a pedestrian bridge over the Mamquam, linking the community to the downtown. The site was previously used by Interfor as a sawmill.

Bids to build and sell Waterfront Landing Phase I went on sale this week, which will include 67 townhouses, 116 stacked townhomes, 139 low-rise apartments and 217 mid-rise apartments on 2.2 km of waterfront at the tip of the land.

When Phase II is complete the project will include 1,500 units, with up to 3,500 beds - potentially increasing Squamish's current population by over 20 per cent. The second phase includes commercial space, marine space, marine-oriented light industry, an artisan village, some community use space, and the three high-rise towers. The original plans called for towers up to 20 storeys, but that has been amended to a maximum of 12 storeys.

Gardner expects that it will take some time for the proponents to subcontract the construction of Phase I, before the project comes back to council for approval of site servicing.

"It is very positive that the waterfront is again beginning to develop," he said. "Off the top of my head the most recent waterfront project completed is the Marina Estates downtown, which was quite a number of years ago. It feels like we're back on track."

Other waterfront projects include the Squamish Oceanfront project, which is still in the conceptual phase, Westmana Development's Ocean's Gateway project, B.C. Rail Properties, and the Skye Development. All of the communities are incorporating Smart Growth principles, and will include trails, shops, and transit hubs to minimize the need for vehicles.

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