'Almost given up' on Oceanfront, says Westmana's Rene David

Hundreds attend municipal presentation on Oceanfront development plans

A key developer in downtown peninsula and Oceanfront planning says rezoning delays of his instrumental piece of property has taken so long he's almost ready to throw in the towel.

"I'm almost afraid to say it but I'm almost ready to give up," said Westmana principal Rene David.

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David said he'll make a decision in the next few months on whether to continue participating in the process.

A significant amount of money was invested in peninsula planning over the last seven years, said David, and he needs to determine if there's value in continuing to be part of the process.

Pulling out could create problems for the entire Oceanfront project, said David, because Westmana's Lot 41, a property at the end of Cleveland Avenue with a large portion located in Cattermole Slough, is key to the future of the municipal lands since it's envisioned as the primary access to the tip of the peninsula.

David said the next Oceanfront planning steps potentially hinge on the future of Lot 41. However Mayor Greg Gardner was not as convinced.

According to Gardner, Westmana offered a portion of Lot 41 as a Cleveland Avenue extension, but another option is to bend Cleveland Avenue to the east.

"The District of Squamish plans the community," said Gardner. "Developers don't determine land uses like transportation."

While David has concerns about the pace of the planning process, he said the District of Squamish meeting held at the Sea to Sky Hotel Thursday (Oct. 28) was a good one, and he was happy to see the level of interest shown by the more than 250 people who packed the ballroom.

The meeting recapped the downtown peninsula's draft sub area plan. Lot 41 is outside the sub area plan and was not part of the open house discussion.

Municipal general manager of community services Cameron Chalmers presented the sub area plan, which will form the policy and land-use framework for future development applications.

A sub area plan bylaw will come before council members for first and second reading on Nov. 2.

Gardner said the large crowds showed people are engaged in Oceanfront planning.

"Some of the comments were in regards to implementation, so that's rewarding," said Gardner.

"Some people have moved on to questions about how we are going to implement the land use plan and that wasn't the purpose of the meeting tonight but many of the questions alluded to that."

Gardner said he believes the process is on the right track based on the number of people who wanted to know details like where specific amenities will be located and how the roads will be laid out.

Gardner said there is "a high degree of consensus from the community" around the draft sub area plan.

Resident John Tisdale, said the concept presented is a good one.

"Watching this evolve, I'm liking what I'm seeing but I liked some of the comments people had tonight because people were saying 'Move forward but consider a few more things here,'" Tisdale said.

Following the Nov. 2 council vote, a public hearing will take place Nov. 30.

Residents and stakeholders can submit feedback on the sub area plan until the end of the public hearing.

Afterward, council hold third reading and determine if it will form the basis for more detailed development plans.

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