The District of Squamish is looking to add the missing piece to the community’s real estate puzzle.
Although individual municipal departments have information to help with property acquisition and disposition decisions in the near term, the district doesn’t possess comprehensive assessment of its long-term land needs, district real estate manager Neil Plumb said at a council meeting last month.
As a result, municipal officials could unknowingly sell land it will require down the road or pass up on acquiring property that would be valuable in the future, he said. The district also has not set aside funding in its long-range capital plan for acquisition of real estate for operational needs, Plumb noted.
With the help of a consultant, the long-term real estate needs assessment will examine population growth projections and where the community’s future development will likely occur, Plumb said, noting the plan will look at needs 25 years into the future.
Once completed, the document will guide future work plans for the municipality’s real estate services and provide valuable input into the district’s financial planning, Plumb said.
He recommended district officials authorize up to $40,000 from the 2013 budget to bridge the information gap.
“We have asked for an early release so we can get started in January,” Plumb said.
Council backed the recommendation. Once completed, the plan would affect a lot of different areas, such as the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Coun. Doug Race said.
“I think there is some urgency for this,” he said.
Squamish businesses have been calling for such a listing since last year’s municipal election. It’s been a heated topic at the district’s Economic Development Standing Committee, pushed by forestry industry officials looking for district assurances that the industry will have lands to operate on in the future.
Plumb told council he hopes to have the assessment complete by the end of April.