Wow, what an amazing string of hot, sunny days. This summer proved to be excellent for both having a lot of fun outdoors, and an ideal construction season.
Squamish, like so many communities, has a great deal of catching up to do with our infrastructure deficit. This year we have been conducting upgrades to our sewer system, our water system, bridge work as well as dike work.
Most of these projects can only be completed during the predictably dry summer months. A great deal of this work has been very obvious to many because much of it has impacted traffic flows on neighbourhood streets. These impacts have ranged from detours to temporary delays and alternating one-way traffic to complete road closures. The team at the district has made significant efforts to inform and advise those who might be affected. We sent out newsletters, posted on our website, Facebook page and Twitter account, advertised in the newspaper, erected street signs in advance, and even went door to door to businesses and residences fronting various projects.
A major aspect of preparing for these capital improvement projects includes planning around the impact on the public to ensure as little disruption as possible, while ensuring the delivery of a successful project.
Summer in Squamish has also become synonymous with exciting festivals and events. We have many events that have a long history here, like Loggers Sports, Test of Metal and the Brackendale Fall Fair. In addition, we’ve seen new events introduced like the Squamish Valley Music Festival and GranFondo.
This year the district added a variety of additional events to the mix as part of the Downtown Transformation project. These activities combined contribute to an atmosphere of fun and excitement. They attract visitors to Squamish, which contributes significantly to our local economy. They contribute to local spending that helps our existing small businesses to prosper and grow and create employment. As well, they make it a vibrant place to live and call home, and a great community for families.
Both the construction projects and all the events and festivals have one thing in common: They can create congestion and impacts on traffic flow. These can range from a minor detour or a few minutes waiting for a flag person to a six-hour bridge or a two-hour highway closure. Most of these are planned with a public awareness program. (This is, of course, on top of those occasional two- to four-hour highway closures for accidents, which are definitely fewer thanks to the upgraded highway).
I believe that Squamish is a better place for all these infrastructure upgrades and the wonderful events and festivals. I do recognize that at times they force us to adjust our schedules and test our tolerance for the temporary inconvenience they cause. I would like to extend my appreciation to the community for being flexible this summer, and making allowances as necessary. Thank you!