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Squamish planned pedestrian bridge from Redbridge may be relocated

With the original connection to Rose Park too impactful, the bridge was proposed to move parallel with the Sea to Sky Highway.
Rendering of newly planned pedestrian bridge at Redbridge.

Changes to the planned location of the pedestrian bridge at Redbridge may be coming down the pike.

At the Oct. 10 committee of the whole meeting, District of Squamish council and staff had an extensive discussion about proposed amendments to the land development agreement with the Redbridge development located off Highway 99 on Scott Crescent.

For context, this development has been around since about 2006 and had its land development agreement adopted in 2014 with amendments coming in 2018 as part of the rezoning process. A development permit was issued for the south portion of the development in 2020, with further amendments to the land development agreement.

Municipal planner, Kerry Hamilton, said the amendments proposed on Oct. 10 could be separated into five categories: pedestrian bridge location, Valleycliffe trails contribution, public art contribution, Clarke Drive changes, and trail wording changes. 

“The largest change proposed in these amendments are related to the pedestrian bridge,” said Kerry.

The bridge was originally supposed to cross Mamquam Blind Channel and connect to Rose Park. However, Kerry said it was determined that the piles and machinery needed to install the bridge would have had “significant environmental impacts.”

Ultimately, it was proposed to move the bridge parallel to the car bridge over Mamquam Blind Channel on the Sea to Sky Highway. With the move, staff recommended withholding a building permit for the north end of Redbridge until the construction of the bridge commenced and gave the Redbridge developer, Kingswood Properties, until October 2025 to do so.

Council unanimously supported that recommendation with amendments unrelated to the bridge; however, concerns remained among some council members

Coun. Lauren Greenlaw described herself as “lukewarm” about the change, as the original proposition was designed partly to make a closed recreation loop between the Smoke Bluffs and Rose Park.

“I would argue that it is not comparable to the amenity that was originally suggested in any other way other than it is a bridge,” she said.

Mayor Armand Hurford asked about the safety of pedestrians using the bridge considering it drew them closer to the highway and Scott Crescent intersection, but the director of major projects summarized that the province wouldn’t budge on some improvements to the intersection.

“Some of our proposals were rejected by the province, one being a flashing beacon that would be pedestrian or bike-activated,” said Dave Marrow.

But Marrow added that they could certainly still propose safety mechanisms beyond the decision at hand.

Kerry relayed to council that the bridge was costing the developer an extra $1 million. When asked about further bridge redesign, she said they needed to be aware that this has already been a secured agreement.

“Right now, we are trying to negotiate changes in that agreement, but they have to be kind of reasonable within what was already agreed to back in 2014 and 2018,” she said.

Furthermore, Kerry informed council that Kingswood had agreed to an advancement and increase of the Valleycliffe trail contribution from $100,000 to $145,625 with expected delivery by the fall of 2024. Moreover, there was an increased contribution from $50,000 to $63,000 for public art.

Also among the alterations was the increased traffic use of upper Clarke Drive because it was deemed that lower Clarke Drive would need to be significantly widened and stabilized and have about 40 trees removed.

Other changes to the agreement from council

One of the most discussed potential changes was related to the trail connection between Redbridge and the Smoke Bluffs, which crosses the property of 1595 Scott Crescent. District staff said as part of that proposed trail connection, the property owners would be provided future driveway access.

Council opted to review this aspect of the land development agreement at a future committee of the whole meeting to understand it better, although Coun. Andrew Hamilton voted against that motion as he stated the District “should not be leveraging their driveway access” for community trail use.

Two other amendments unanimously agreed upon were that the car sharing program to be installed at Redbridge would be accessible to those beyond strata residents and that the kayak launch amenity be delivered at the occupation of phase four or that cash-in-lieu be renegotiated with the current community amenity contribution policy.

A verbal update about Redbridge and the above changes is scheduled on council’s Oct. 17 regular business meeting agenda.

Complex land development agreement

If you’re confused by what all of this means, then you’re not alone.

The roundabout discussion at council led the senior director of community development, Jonas Velaniskis, to call this one of the most complex documents he’s seen.

“This is the most confusing land development agreement we've ever had,” he said.

But, Velaniskis and Kerry reiterated they trusted the lawyers who had reviewed it multiple times.

Coun. Jenna Stoner said it was agreements like this that sparked her interest in adding sunset clauses for future agreements.

“I often talk about putting sunset clauses on rezonings and land development agreements and this is why because we ended up many years down the road in a totally different context, with thousands of units being built and not the amenities that our community needs,” she said.

For more information about these proposed changes, read the report from council’s Oct. 10 committee of the whole agenda or view the meeting on the District’s YouTube channel.

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Note: A line in this story was changed to clarify who stated the information about the trail connection between Redbridge and the Smoke Bluffs.


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