District of Squamish behind schedule on some environmental targets | Squamish Chief

District of Squamish behind schedule on some environmental targets

However, municipal staff say work's been done on affordable housing and economic development

Progress has been made on affordable housing and economic development, according to a recent District of Squamish staff update, but some of council's goals surrounding the environment are at risk of being seriously or permanently delayed.

These were some of the highlights of a recent update given to council on Nov. 26.

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During this discussion, the municipality's chief administrative officer, Linda Glenday, outlined how the District was doing meeting elected officials' strategic plan goals.

The strategic plan is a broad outline of what council hopes to accomplish during its term.

Two goals that are at risk of not coming to fruition involve the environment.

"We don't want to be pessimistic, but we do want to be realistic," Glenday said.

One of council's at-risk goals is diverting 80% of waste from the landfill. This target also calls for reducing per capita landfill waste to 300 kilograms by 2021.

In 2018, Glenday said, people in town were averaging about 526 kilograms of landfill waste per year.

As of 2019, that number has jumped up to 545 kilograms, she said.

In the meantime, the District has put a staff member on the job to educate and try to reduce landfill waste from commercial and multi-family housing facilities, Glenday said.

The second goal that's at risk of getting seriously delayed is the target to reduce the number of people driving to work alone by 2022. The idea is to reduce greenhouse gases.

Glenday said that the municipality's requests for regional transit still haven't been granted, so it's going to be a challenge to get people out of their cars.

As regional transit needs a buy-in from the province, there's not much else the District can do, she said.

There was some key progress regarding affordable housing, she said.

The Buckley Avenue affordable housing project has been approved.

 Also, three other developments promising a range of affordable housing types — mainly one, two and three-bedroom apartments — are getting closer to becoming a reality.

 These developments are the Garibaldi Springs, Waterfront and Centennial developments.

 Rezoning for Garibaldi and Waterfront happened under previous councils.

 This current council gave feedback about the Centennial Way development, and it's expected to be discussed again at a future date.

 With all these developments, the time of building is dependent on the developer, so council has no say on when the affordable units will arrive.

 There was also discussion as to how to address this current council's promise to build 125 affordable housing units by 2022.

 Glenday said that if council counted the 72 units from the Buckley Avenue project, Under One Roof and the Polygon seniors development, council would meet its target.

 All three of these developments received their rezoning approvals under the previous council, which ended its term last year.

 Councillors decided to count the 72 units from Buckley as part of what would fulfill their 125-unit promise.

 Mayor Karen Elliott said that while Buckley was rezoned under the previous council, under her administration, the project was getting off the ground.

 Councillors reasoned they wouldn't count the units from Under One Roof and Polygon toward their quota because they serve specific segments of the population, while the intent of council's target is to provide affordable housing for the general populace.

 On the economic development front, staff said that much data regarding the local economy had been gathered.

 Work had been done to create an employment lands inventory and work is underway on the business park zoning amendment, among other things, as well.

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