Local lawmakers have asked the developers of a 425-unit project near the Mamquam Blind Channel to have another kick at the can before deciding on a final road alignment to serve the new subdivision.
At its Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 11), council voted to ask Kingswood Crescent Development Ltd. for a feasibility and cost analysis of realigning the proposed Behrner Drive extension, part of the road network designed to serve traffic moving into and out of the neighbourhood from southbound Highway 99.
The move comes in response to a recent petition from Clarke Drive residents seeking a re-examination of the proposed road’s routing.
“We continue to be concerned about key elements of the applicant’s traffic plan — propose splitting of traffic at the intersection of Scott Crescent and Clarke Drive, and measurement and assumptions regarding expected traffic volumes and commuter traffic directions,” read the petition, signed by about 40 residents.
The anticipated traffic volume for lower Clarke Drive, the petitioners stated, “exceeds the recommended allowable standard for a ‘local road,’” leading to a call to examine all other options.
The petitioners, though, stressed the need for “detailed engineering” of those options, not merely a “conceptual design.” The final motion adopted by council asks the developers for a “feasibility and cost analysis” of a 400-metre Berhner Drive extension that would approach the development from the east and make a sharp turn to the southwest, connecting with upper Scott Crescent.
Steep grades in that portion of the property and a desire to protect trail access to the Blind Channel waterfront are two factors that affect any future road alignment, municipal planner Sarah McJannet told council.
Municipal engineer David Roulston said staff believes the splitting of traffic at the intersection of Scott Crescent and a realigned Clarke Drive would yield traffic volumes of about 700 vehicles per day, which is within acceptable limits.
“Traffic and access have always been the challenge with this development and I believe it’s worth exploring this new Behrner road extension option,” Coun. Patricia Heintzman said.
Kingwood officials are expected to come back to council for first and second reading in the next few weeks.
SAC café space available
The organization that operates the Squamish Adventure Centre (SAC) is putting the emphasis on leasing out space in 2014, but is facing a challenge in that regard — Galileo Coffee, which has operated the café for the past few years, is vacating the space.
Deanna Wampler, operations manager for the Squamish Sustainability Corp. (SSC), told council on Tuesday that a call for expressions of interest (EOI) in operating the café is set to close on Feb. 21.
Galileo, which had gross sales of $330,000 in 2013, is moving mostly because of a “lifestyle choice” by its owners to focus more on sales of its roasted coffee, Wampler said. Interest in the space has been brisk since the EOI went out on Jan. 21, she said.
The number of visitors through the door at the centre increased to just over 170,000 in 2013, a rise of almost five per cent. As well, from May to December, the gift shop saw its highest monthly sales since the facility opened in 2005.
Still, SSC officials project that total revenue will fall from $122,489 in 2013 to just $96,537 in 2014, partly because of the café vacancy. Officials also hope to see more revenue from the leasing of office space — two offices are currently vacant, Wampler said.
SSC is seeking District of Squamish grant funding to the tune of $151,717 — the same total it has received for the past three years. As well, after addressing a few equipment and maintenance issues in 2013, maintenance contractors recommend that the building’s exterior wood be stripped and stained at a cost of $31,000 in 2014. The staining would stand the exterior in good stead for seven years, Wampler said.