A Squamish non-profit organization wants assurances that money it pours into the development of a forestry centre won’t be wasted.
In March, District of Squamish council granted the Sea to Sky Forestry Centre Society a lease on municipally owned land at the north end of Rose Park, upon the condition that the area meets environmental assessment requirements. The society aims to develop a logging museum on the property.
But once the agreement was in place, the society discovered property lines that were assumed to be there based on old lease agreements did not exist. Now, instead of dealing with a small lot, the society is stuck with cleaning up environmental contamination for the entire, 2.7-hectare (six-acre) park.
“This order does not give us any real legal tender to that site and we are starting to spend substantial amounts of money on it,” society chair Ken Pickering told council at Committee of the Whole on Tuesday (Oct. 22).
The project has been broken down into three stages. As it stands, the society is in the first phase that includes the environmental assessment. The society secured a grant for approximately $26,000 from the province to pay for the study, with members pitching in the remaining 20 per cent of the bill from their own pockets.
“We don’t know how much the remediation will cost until after the testing,” Pickering said, noting that’s the next step, followed by construction of the facility.
The property needs to be subdivided and the society hopes to strike a new agreement with council to lease the lot, Pickering said, noting the paperwork must be completed by February or March 2014 for the organization to have a chance to secure government funding.
The society shouldn’t be responsible for cleanup of the entire park, Coun. Doug Race said.
“I’m not comfortable with saddling a non-profit with remediation of the whole site,” he said, adding that members deserve security that their efforts aren’t being spent in vain.
Mayor Rob Kirkham agreed, directing municipal staff to work with the society to draft a lease agreement that would come back to council for final approval.
Rose Park 2.7 hectares in total