Skip to content

New employment space proposed for downtown Squamish

A public hearing for a new three-storey building has been set for January.
Rendering of the proposed building.

A three-storey building for commercial and employment space may be destined for the southern end of downtown.

On Dec. 6, council voted 6-1 to give first and second reading for a rezoning application for 37707 Second Ave. Coun. Lauren Greenlaw was the sole opposing vote.

The project will now go to a public hearing scheduled for Jan. 24, 2023, at 6 p.m. at council chambers in Municipal Hall. People may also participate electronically.

The property is currently zoned as I-1 light industrial. If the application succeeds, it will change that zoning into a CD-104 comprehensive development zone.

The proponent is Chris Hunter of Hunter Office Architecture.

"The zone allows for a mix of employment uses," said municipal planner Vrish Prahalad. "No residential uses are proposed."

The 6,000-square-foot lot is an undeveloped parcel, surrounded mostly by other I-1 parcels.

It would be over 15 metres, which is consistent with the four-storey buildings in the area, Prahalad said. It will have a rooftop patio.

This proposal would have 11 car parking stalls, two of which will be accessible. The zoning bylaw only requires one to be accessible but would normally require 19 car stalls. As a result, the developer plans on paying cash-in-lieu fees of $240,000.

Blueprints presented at the council meeting showed the car stalls as tandem spaces.

Additionally, there are also 19 bike parking stalls proposed.

Greenlaw expressed concern about the car parking arrangement.

"I'm concerned about the 19 stalls required, and then the 11 proposed, and the majority of them being tandem, and the acceptance of cash in lieu of the parking spots, given the pending parking situation in Squamish," she said.

Mayor Armand Hurford raised points about a need to accommodate cargo bikes in the building.

He said to justify a reduction in vehicle parking, the active transportation must be functional.

"The active transportation … has to work," said Hurford. "So the person that works in that building has to seamlessly arrive there in that function and not leave their expensive machine out in the weather as well. So I think that [bike parking space] secured on the ground floor for cargo bikes is great and is actually key in defending the cash-in-lieu policy in general."

Further details about this would be discussed at the development permit stage.

Coun. Jenna Stoner said it was important to have a building with 100% employment space in that section of downtown Squamish.

Making such a project work on a small lot is a challenge for that area of downtown, Coun. Eric Andersen said.

"This is another project for this part of town which seeks to confront the challenges of the small lots," said Andersen. "This is an important challenge for the whole of downtown. We have a great number of these lots with a number of constraints. I think staff, together with the applicants, have done solid work so far."


*** Feb.7, 2023: Correction: the proposal seeks to be rezoned as a CD-104 zone, not a CD-4 zone.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks