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Westmana launches Blind Channel project sales

Mireau to generate up to 100 jobs, beginning seaside transformation

Westmana Development this week announced the launch of the long-anticipated Ocean's Gateway, beginning with its 60-unit Mireau project along the shores of the Blind Channel.

With a very visible presentation centre now standing in its prominent downtown location of Loggers Lane, developers are ready to begin selling the 60 waterfront units ranging between $219,000 to more than $600,000.

However, it may be some time before builders actually break ground, bringing an anticipated 100 jobs into the downtown, according to René David, principal of Westmana and Mamquam Ocean Channel Development.

That's due to several factors, he said, including how pre-sales go and what happens with the economy.

"It'll probably be the spring -this time next year," said David. "We're shooting for the fall this year, but you never know because of weather, you never know because further downturns in the economy."

David - along with the Squamish Landholders Association - has been critical of the length of time it takes to get district permitting in the past, but he said Mireau's permits are going smoothly. However he said the broader Ocean's Gateway masterplanned project for the entire peninsula is experiencing delays due to the district's engineering department.

"Still waiting for engineering to, I think, solve their internal issues," he said.

Calls to director of Community Development Mick Gottardi were not returned by press time.

David added he believed construction to be the main thrust of the local economy and in order to stimulate the industry, the district needs to shift focus from affordable housing to getting through the process.

"Any sort of construction or movement through the permitting process is good news for labour and for our workers," he said. "Even the building of our sales centre there was quite nice to see.

"Everyone's looking at advancing these projects like affordable housing when in reality everything's affordable now."

Mireau's 60 suites include one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, many of which also have dens. One commercial unit that will be part of the development will possibly serve marine retail needs. The project will take 15 months to complete and is slated for completion in the fall of 2010.

David said, unlike other developments pulling the plug, there are no plans to delay Mireau.

"We can't afford to, nor can the community. All we'll do is have different pricing for that so they become more affordable."

David said he's enthusiastic about the project since it marks the beginning of the transformation proposed in the Ocean's Gateway masterplanned project.

"It's mostly good news with the public seeing what's needed now for approvals on our Ocean's Gateway development, and by summertime hopefully there's a rezoning," he said.

Ocean's Gateway is a20-acre property that is part of the Squamish Peninsula lands situated south of Westminster Street.

It partners Pridham's Waterfront project with BC Properties and the District of Squamish for the development of 20 acres on the peninsula. Currently proposed are 1,400 residential units, approximately 175,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, a marina and a variety of walking paths. The marina is expected to attract pleasure cruisers and floatplanes.

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