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Developer application spurs Squamish's North Crumpit neighbourhood planning

Respondents want single-family homes in the potential new neighbourhood, also for the environment to be prioritized.
Crumpit area
The area under consideration for future planning.

A new high-level neighbourhood planning process for the North Crumpit area is underway, aiming to shape the future of development in the zone adjacent to Valleycliffe.

On Dec. 14, District staff updated council on how the engagement process for the project was progressing.

The planning process was spurred by an application by Diamond Head Land Company Ltd. to make a plan that would govern how development would occur on its extensive property.

That area is adjacent to Valleycliffe, just north of Crumpit Woods.

Planner Matt Gunn told council that the proponent's project team and the District, and various community and government entities have been providing feedback into the process.

He said there had been 725 pieces of written feedback from the community.

Top concerns were the ecological and environmental impact, existing biking and hiking trails, effects on climbing areas; traffic in the area; and access to the highway.

He noted that the topic that drew the most concern was the environment.

Community members were concerned about the water quality in places like the Little Stawamus Creek and how it could affect the salmon.

Wildlife habitat, groundwater, biodiversity were all other issues that were raised, with many people asking that green space and wildlife habitat be preserved.

There were also concerns about wildlife corridors and how development in the area might affect how animals move in corridors on a macro level throughout the town.

Gunn said addressing wildlife corridors on a macro level throughout the community would be a great challenge, as there hasn't been any local precedent on the matter, and it would likely require collaboration from a number of local and regional authorities.

He said that there was also a strong desire to preserve trails, with community residents and organizations like SORCA calling for a no-net-trail-loss policy.

Gunn noted that the area has been identified as having some of the best intermediate level mountain biking trails.

Another big takeaway from the engagement process was the type of housing that locals wanted to see in the area.

Gunn said 67% of the 394 people who provided feedback on housing types said that they'd like to see single family homes built in the area.

"I think we should not be surprised to see desire for single-family continue to surface, because I think there's deeply-held feelings around single family that are biting up against these challenges we have with environment, land, availability, price," Gunn said.

'I think we should not be surprised to see people raise that as a desirable form, just as there are many tradeoffs."

He noted 42% wanted to see options for first-time homebuyers, but noted that these options had not been well-defined at this stage of the consultation.

Cottages received 34% approval; townhomes and fourplexes received 30%; and 25% of respondents said they'd also like to see duplexes and triplexes.

Affordable housing was a topic discussed, given the recent formation of Squamish's local housing society.

Coun. Doug Race said a portion of the land may be a potential community amenity contribution.

That land could be used to build affordable units, he said.

Mayor Karen Elliott wondered about transit, and Gunn noted that while the project team doesn't have specifics, the intention is to build roads to a standard that would accept bus travel.

Coun. Eric Andersen noted that while many people were concerned about environmental impact, there is also a great opportunity for environmental enhancement in the area.

He said that areas affected by previous development could be revitalized and restored as part of a deal with the proponent.

Coun. Chris Pettingill was concerned about where the proposed Fortis Eagle Mountain pipeline would travel, and noted its proximity to residents may be an issue.

On the recreation front, Coun. Armand Hurford said there should be considerations for access points for recreational users.

Regarding trail users, Hurford said the Cherry Drive and Westway section have parking constraints and said there will likely be parallels to the Perth Drive area in the Highlands.

He suggested to consider making parking areas for recreational users.

"I think some thought around that I would expect to see in the proposals that come back," Hurford said.