Squamish politicians and logging history buffs are hammering out a lease agreement to pave the way for a forestry centre.
On May 20, District of Squamish officials voted to entertain an offer to lease land to the Sea to Sky Forest Centre Society. The organization has until March 2017 to complete a site layout, business plan and architectural drafts of the centre, municipal real estate manager Neil Plumb told council. Once council approves the centre’s final design, the district and society will enter a 25-year lease agreement.
“The society will be the one responsible for the construction and maintenance of the site,” Plumb said.
The lease will hand the southern half of the gravel parking lot beside the Squamish Adventure Centre to the society. The district will rent the property for $1 and the society will be responsible for all costs related to the area, such as buildings and other improvements.
The society aims to build a forestry centre showcasing the Sea to Sky Corridor’s logging history and current practices. Municipal officials are willing to grant the lease on the land next to Rose Park under three conditions: an environmental assessment had to be completed to mitigate potential contamination from the site’s former industrial use, a site plan had to be drafted and any building moved onto the property has to have a traceable history.
An environmental analysis was completed earlier this year. It stated no further environmental remediation was necessary. The project does not conflict with a proposed park and ride in the same area, stated a report to council.
The Squamish Forest District consists of 1 million hectares. Industry officials estimate logging annually pumps $50 million into Squamish. It’s one the district’s largest industries, directly employing approximately 350 people in the Sea to Sky Corridor, industry officials estimate.