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Rec-tech sector grows again

Industry relies on protection of recreational assets: officials
Submitted photo
Brian Goldstone works on a project at 7mesh’s new office. The company is the latest in the rec-tech sector to set up shop in Squamish.

Squamish’s outdoor smorgasbord is nurturing the community’s latest rec tech start-up.

New cycling apparel company 7mesh has its roots in the area’s 200 kilometres of mountain bike trails, said Brian Goldstone, the business’s marketing director. Founded by local residents last September, the company moved into an office in the Squamish Business Park.

Since the mid ’90s there’s been a notable shift in officials’ awareness of the value of Squamish’s natural assets. A lot of people are moving to town because of the outdoor lifestyle, Goldstone said.
7mesh is setting up shop in a building near the corner of Commercial and Queens ways. The complex will also house climbing apparel company Blurr and a local sales representative for climbing and mountain biking equipment producers for Black Diamond, Five Ten and Prana.

Blurr started in West Vancouver 2001. Three years later, the company moved to Squamish. As with 7mesh, Blurr president D’Arcy Bloom said Squamish’s natural playground is the reason company officials decided to relocate to town.

Squamish’s outdoor recreation is what separates it from other communities and attracts business within the field, Bloom said. If District of Squamish officials work to protect and develop the community’s outdoor recreation resources, it will attract more rec-tech companies, Bloom said.

“In my opinion that is where the effort should be directed,” Bloom said, adding that as the community grows, more developments will encroach on recreational areas. “We need to develop new [recreational resources] and preserve what we have.”

Squamish’s Official Community Plan highlights recreation technology as an industry to be encouraged, said Randy Stoyko, the district’s general manager of business and community services. Municipal staff work with proponents of such companies to help them find suitable business locations. Stoyko has seen a growing buzz from the rec-tech sector regarding Squamish.

“Staff are engaged in conversations,” he said. “There is a lot of interest in Squamish.”

Companies such as Blurr and 7mesh help advertize Squamish’s amenities, Goldstone said. Both showcase Squamish in their marketing and bring buyers from around the world to town.
“There aren’t many places where you can just walk out the door to test the prototypes,” Goldstone said. 

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