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Fire Rescue asks for more money

Fire Chief Ray Saurette went before council for the District of Squamish Tuesday (Oct. 17) to request funds for Squamish Fire Rescue's "critical shortage of manpower". Saurette said ideally, calls should receive a crew of five firefighters.

Fire Chief Ray Saurette went before council for the District of Squamish Tuesday (Oct. 17) to request funds for Squamish Fire Rescue's "critical shortage of manpower".

Saurette said ideally, calls should receive a crew of five firefighters. But the frequency of incidents with fewer than five firefighters is increasing.

He requested council authorize the allocation of a total of $100,000 for 2007 for an additional 10 volunteer firefighter positions and for overtime expenditures to enable unionized staff to respond to emergencies after-hours.

Coun. Corinne Lonsdale questioned giving the funds now for 2007 and requested statistics showing the number of calls Fire Rescue attends. Saurette said he could provide the stats. Mayor Ian Sutherland said the fund allocation needed to be made right away before it's too late.

"God help us all if there's a fire and no one is available for that call," he said.

The staff recommendation to grant Fire Rescue $100,000 was passed unanimously.

Red Point project reconsidered

Council unanimously passed an amended motion to reschedule a public hearing on the contentious Scott Crescent Red Point development proposal.

Red Point is a 220 housing unit proposal for five acres at the intersection of Scott Crescent and Highway 99. On Sept. 19th, four residents spoke against the project with concerns over significantly heightened traffic.

Council requested information about the anticipated upgrades at Clarke Drive and at Scott Crescent as a result of the Highway 99 upgrade, and deferred third reading of the bylaw pending this clarification. Because council received additional information following the first public hearing on Sept. 19 a second public hearing is required before making a decision whether to give the bylaw third reading.

Access to the proposed development site at Scott Crescent was been confirmed as a right-in, right-out only and access to the Shell station will be a protected left-in, left-out intersection. Clarke Drive will be an at grade intersection.

Council approved a second public hearing for Nov. 21. Council will then vote on a third reading of the development zoning amendment bylaw.

Ice rink gets netting after near accident

Council unanimously approved a request for $5,980 for protective netting above the ice rink at the Brennan Park Rec centre after hearing Recreation, Parks and Tourism staff report that during the first public game of the Cougars Junior hockey team a baby in the crowd was almost hit with a rogue puck. The district staff reprioritized Recreation, Parks and Tourism budget items to accommodate the extra expenditure.

Affordable Housing study debated

Council debated the merits of Affordable Housing Policy Development while reviewing a staff recommendation to appoint and engage the services of a consulting team at a cost of no more than $90,000.

"We spend a lot of money on consultants, but I don't see a set of deliverables listed here," said Coun. Greg Gardner.

Coun. Raj Kahlon asked whether council would have the will to implement any recommendations the consultants may bring forward.

Following a request for proposal (RFP) process, staff recommended council award a contract to the consulting assignment to CitySpaces Consulting in association with Coriolis Consulting.

"Squamish is on the verge of reviewing some of the largest development applications it is likely to see, including the Interfor Lands, the Nexen site, and in the future, the Merril and Ring lands," states the staff report. "Applications for brownfield and infill re-development are also substantial, however, the relationship between housing prices and local incomes remains as a community-wide concern."

Sutherland reminded council members that the item was approved in the 2006 budget. Lonsdale said it was crucial to establish an affordable housing policy and said Cityspaces is not only the best, but probably the only firm to do this type of work.

Council unanimously passed the recommendation.

Business Park paving contract awarded

Council unanimously approved a staff recommendation to award a contract for paving work in the Business Park to the lone bidder, Alpine Paving.

The paving company will widen the existing sections of Discovery Way from Industrial Way to the BC Hydro building and Industrial Way from Highway 99 to Midway.

"The work is required for the opening of Wal-Mart and the Home Depot," said district project engineer Rod Pleasance.

Funding is to come Business Park Land Fund and contributions from land interests in the Business Park.

Local contractors were contacted directly during the RFP process and advertising was placed both in the Journal of Commerce and in The Chief to advise of the tender. One bid was received at closing time and was opened publicly. When the tenders were opened Alpine Paving apparently had lowest tender at $731,517 plus GST. The district negotiated the bid down to $719,517.

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