A development project on Tantalus Road received first reading after numerous years of redesign.
On Sept. 5, District of Squamish council members voted in favour of granting the first reading for a rezoning application of a development project called Tantalus Village on Tantalus Road, just north of Fire Hall No. 2. The vote was unanimous among the present council members. Coun. Eric Andersen was absent from the meeting.
The project by Target Real Estate Development Co. was originally denied a first reading in 2020, but the proponents have since made changes and sought feedback from council before the Sept. 5 first reading.
“This project has seen a significant amount of evolution over the course of the last four years and multiple visits in this room, so I'd like to see this proposal get second reading as soon as possible so that we can schedule a public hearing,” said Coun. John French.
This proposal will still need a second reading, public hearing, third reading and adoption before becoming a sure thing.
Overall, the project aims to add three commercial and residential buildings that are six-storeys in height, plus a park on the west side near Highway 99 and an ecological reserve zone on the east side.
A few amenities among numerous proposed include a childcare space and market rental and for sale housing, with 6% of the gross floor area of two buildings to be donated to the Squamish Community Housing Society.
Previous reporting about this development said there would be approximately 300 residential units in total with the project.
Despite the unanimous vote, there was feedback on the project from a few council members, which included a desire for more understanding about the traffic impacts, increased employment space, connectivity of the proposed public use path, plus a better understanding about the reduction of community amenity contributions (CAC).
“I'm not sold that what is presented here is actually meeting the needs of our community in terms of functional employment space in this really core center of our community,” said Coun. Jenna Stoner.
Part of the reduction in the CAC came from waiving the greenfield fee of $3 per square foot of phase one, which includes the market rental building. Because of the difficulty of financing market rental, District staff agreed to waive that fee, which is a reduction of about $247,000.
There was also a reduction in the active transportation and parks fee of about $1 per square foot due in part to the construction of the proposed public path. A couple council members wanted to see the cost of the public path for a comparison.
“It may not be an increase in the CAC that we need to see, but we need to see the work and the justification for it,” said Mayor Armand Hurford.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) had yet to provide comments about the traffic impacts.
Dave Ransier of Target Real Estate Development Co. wrote an email to council prior to the Sept. 5 meeting that said he hoped council could consider the first and second reading that night, if the MOTI comments were the only outstanding item. He added that otherwise the project could face an added two to three month delay.
“It would be good to streamline the process a little bit, especially if the majority are in favour of the project,” he wrote.
Although council settled on granting a first reading, Hurford commented before calling the vote into question that he looked forward to seeing the proposal back for second reading “as quickly as that can happen.”