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On with the show

Sylvie Paillard spaillard@squamishchief.com Squamish may soon see crowds at the Loggers Sports Grounds for more than just a few weeks a year.

Sylvie Paillard

spaillard@squamishchief.com

Squamish may soon see crowds at the Loggers Sports Grounds for more than just a few weeks a year.

The Squamish Entertainment Group (SEG) is in its second year of discussions to lease the grounds on Loggers Lane, which has been used for years as the setting for Squamish Days Logger Sports and the Test of Metal.

On Tuesday March 21, SEG presented a report to District of Squamish council and got the go ahead to develop a business plan. "The jobs that are going to be created there are going to be very important," said acting mayor Corinne Lonsdale. "Today people come to Squamish and they climb, windsurf and they do all of those neat things in the outdoors and hopefully they stop and buy a cup of coffee or they go to a bike shop, but it's pretty hard to get in their pockets. This is a real opportunity to tap into that other tourism market."

The SEG wants to lease the grounds for 25 years and use the massive wooden logbook sculptures by Glenn Greensides and the forestry museum currently on the site as historical attractions. SEG also envisions retailers, restaurants and other local businesses on the premises. Negotiations must include the province because the property is Crown Land and designated "for recreational use only." But that shouldn't put a stop to the proposal, according to Lonsdale.

In November 2004, council gave support in principle to the proposal, allowing SEG to negotiate with district staff. Council also directed SEG to discuss its plans with the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Association (SDLSA), stating that any deal reached between the DOS and SEG will be subject to the approval of SDLSA.

In February 2005, SEG hired architects to moderate a design charette for the loggers sports grounds, and the attending 20 individuals from various stakeholder groups reacted positively. The initial proposal had construction beginning in the spring of 2006, but there are still "many issues to be concluded," states the SEG report. One concern came from the district administrator whose comments - attached to the SEG report - show concern over the proposition that SEG tapping into Brennan Park Centre services.

"This entire neighbourhood requires services to be installed," states the administrator. "The intended uses and building codes/regulations etc. may demand a level of service that cannot or should not be achieved within a connection to Brennan Park." A new schedule shows a detailed business plan submission date of March 2006 along with the launch of a development and construction process. Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2006 with the grounds opening in spring of 2007.