A large, multipurpose development called "The Village" located on Bailey Street will soon be up for debate before council.
On May 9, the District of Squamish council provided feedback on a rezoning application, which would harbour a five-building development potentially consisting of office and residential space, a hybrid theatre and a four-storey parkade.
In the end,council voted 6-0 in favour, as Coun. Jenna Stoner was absent at the time of voting, to move ahead to consider the first and second reading of the proposal, with the changes suggested included, at a future council meeting.
Plenty of feedback was given by all the council members, but some themes stood out including reintroducing childcare into the space, hybrid theatre access and necessity, and parkade use.
The previously-elected council provided feedback about this proposal in 2021.
The proposal from Lovick Scott Architects presented on May 9 consists of rezoning five plots of land at 1331, 1251 and part of 1100 Bailey St., as well as 38261 Cleveland Ave. from Downtown Commercial and Rail Transportation to a Comprehensive Development Zone.
This area includes the current Re/Max office and stretches west down Bailey Street toward the ParkHouse residential building.
The proposal is broken into three parts — Lot A, Lot B and Lot C.
District planner Kerry Hamilton said Lot A would consist of a five-storey commercial office building, a mixed commercial and market rental four-storey building, a two-storey building and a four-storey parkade — which replaces most of the surface parking from an earlier plan.
“The two-storey building fronting Bailey Street is now proposing a hybrid theatre space with 190 seats to offer both cinema commercial uses and community events space. The amenity has replaced the previous proposal for a dedicated childcare space,” said Kerry.
In her comments, Coun. Lauren Greenlaw requested that childcare be brought back into consideration.
“If we're going to have a five-storey office space that is a very obvious and easy and thoughtful place to put a daycare,” she said.
Mayor Armand Hurford shared a similar sentiment.
“I have seen examples in the community where childcare space does happen in available commercial spaces, but I'm having a hard time leaving it to chance,” he said.
Coun. Andrew Hamilton asked whether this hybrid theatre was too close to the Eagle Eye Theatre.
Coun. Eric Andersen similarly questioned whether it was too far for people living in Brackendale to access, recalling when Brennan Park was originally proposed where Save-On-Foods is now located but residents said it was too far away.
“We should be opportunistic, but it's best to have a plan so we can take advantage of these opportunities and see where they best fit,” he said.
Kerry commented the project hopes to receive a report from Squamish Arts prior to adoption, which will indicate arts and culture needs around the community.
Meanwhile, Lot B and Lot C are proposed to provide a variety of residential units. In total, there are 213 residential units proposed, which is slightly down from the 217 proposed in 2021.
Lot A proposes 22 residential and 181 commercial parking stalls, which meets the requirement for residential stalls and exceeds the commercial requirement by 14. Lot B proposes 193 residential and visitor stalls, which meets the requirement.
“Eight commercial stalls are also required with the addition of the commercial space but can be provided for on the Lot A site,” said Kerry about the Lot B parking stalls.
Lot C proposes 153 residential and visitor parking stalls, which meet the requirement.
Hurford said he hoped there could be a policy to ensure that the residential parking spots are getting used and, if not, that they could be opened up for additional parking use or other flexible use including bike storage or the like.
Similarly, Andersen remarked that other communities utilize spaces like these as mobility hubs where carshare services, bike parking and vehicles can be in one area.
Hamilton said he would “definitely like to see a significant fraction of [the parkade] available for public paid parking.”
Coun. Chris Pettingill believed the current design to be too car-centric.
“I see a lot of great opportunity here, but density that's focused on cars and no childcare and so on for me is density done wrong,” he said.
The proposal also triggers numerous community amenity contributions which include 22 affordable homeownership units, 22 market rental units, over $300,000 for potential park and multi-use pathway upgrades and about $1.2 million cash in lieu.
“The housing components are really challenging to me as they're currently proposed,” said Stoner. “I would love to see … consideration of residency requirements for the market rentals. I think that is a step in the right direction.”
Stoner said the affordable homeownership aspect may be a step beyond what Squamish needs now, but encouraged the developer to look into support from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation if they still retain an interest in that as part of the plan.
“There's such a huge need for non-market rental that I fear that if we tie these units to non-market homeownership, we're not going to be delivering on what our community actually needs,” she said.
Stoner also commented that the overall density, especially on Lot C, still seemed “really heavy,” but agreed that it is a good place for density.
Lastly, the multi-use pathway is meant to maintain the pedestrian access between Bailey Street and Buckley Avenue, but the plan is to eventually convert it to a road that connects to Third Avenue.
“We are just contemplating a multi-use pathway and not a full road, but that there would be a timeline associated to that flipping to an actual road design,” said Kerry, which she added is still awaiting final drawings and details at this time.
Kerry noted that active transportation components will be proposed on the road design. Another public information meeting about the project from the proponent is to be scheduled by the end of May, said Kerry.
For more information, view the May 9 Committee of the Whole meeting at YouTube.com/@DistrictofSquamish.