Council appoints Sustainability Corp. board members

Council for the District of Squamish unanimously voted Tuesday (Oct. 17) to approve a list of residents for a new Squamish Sustainability Corporation (SSC) board of directors.

The SSC is an arm's-length, wholly owned district corporation tasked with managing the Adventure Centre and advancing tourism and business in the municipality. Council selected the residents from Mayor Ian Sutherland's recommendations as well as from a long list of people who put their names forward to volunteer.

The eight members of the community appointed to the board include Ken Pickering, Murray Sovereign. Colleen Myers, Cathy Jenkins, Shabbir Dhalla, David Crewson, Bill Brumpton, John Morris and council also appointed Councillor Jeff McKenzie. The board will also include a representative from agencies in the Adventure Centre working toward tourism and business development.

Coun. Greg Gardner put forward the motion to establish a new board on Sept. 5 and said he's excited about the SSC board's direction.

"I've always felt that the SSC should take its direction from a broad base of business-minded people in the community," he said.

Gardner said he was also confident about the future management of the Adventure Centre.

"I am confident that this board will help manage that building in as efficient a manner as possible," he said.

Council also passed a motion on Tuesday to amalgamate two lines of credit - for a total of $428,000 - that the district borrowed to establish the SSC at the Adventure Centre over the last 18 months. Council approved the first loan of $328,000 on Nov. 22, 2005, and the second loan of $128,000 was approved on Sept. 5, 2006 to cover expenses to the end of 2006. The initial funds were insufficient, said Mayor Ian Sutherland, because the number of people anticipated to visit the Adventure Centre was based on the presence of an exit ramp to the facility.

"It's not as high as it was forecasted in the budget and a lot of that has to do with the fact that we were projecting to have the highway access into that building a year ago," said Sutherland. "That didn't happen so that obviously affect visitor numbers."

Sutherland said with the exit ramp will almost surely be in place by the summer, so he expects the SSC to generate its own Adventure Centre management costs.

"I believe that the last loan that we approved, that will be the last influx of cash that they'll need," he said. "They're supposed to be able to carry on on their own resources going forward."

Much of the SSC expenditures are not made public in order to ensure there is no compromise to the competitiveness of the retail business located in the Adventure Centre, said Sutherland. But council has a "firm grasp" on the expenditures and revenues, he said.

The former SSC board was made up of two members: Sutherland and Brent Leigh, who is also the district Deputy Administrator and the SSC Managing Director. Leigh continues in his role of Managing Director, helping to facilitate the SSC's mandate. A district-funded Business Development Lead position was also recently created to facilitate the SSC mandate.

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