In "Council Corner" of the April 1 edition of The Chief, I was interested to read that the district is attempting to secure Crown land for affordable residential/industrial use and wish to ensure "...that young people who grow up here can stay in Squamish".I have lived here since 1967 and have three children who grew up in Squamish. Two have moved to the interior due to the unavailability of reasonably priced residential land and the other has been evicted from District-leased land to make way for a parking lot. With reasonably priced industrial land also unavailable, I am concerned that he, too, may be forced to relocate from Squamish as the district now has legal action against him.
I do wish the district's proposed initiative had been set in place before small businesses were evicted with no alternate, affordable industrial sites available.
Cheekye Fan wrong site for industry park
The idea of establishing a "forestry industrial park" has been discussed recently by Squamish Council and in this newspaper.
Presumably this refers to wood product manufacturing. This is a good concept in itself. There is also a local shortage of industrial land generally, which involves various priorities and will need various solutions.
Within the local forest industry, the immediate pressing needs are to identify suitable, affordable sites for existing logging businesses being displaced (probably more to come) and to finalize a plan for future log handling (in response to the Squamish Estuary Management Plan).
Developing a Cheekye Fan site for manufacturing will have some severe and very costly challenges. Other considerations emerge in looking at wood industry "parks" or "business incubators" elsewhere. There are approximately eight of these around B.C.
The most modest initiatives among these involve start-up costs of between $1 and $2 million. None expect to be self-sustaining.
The current picture of wood enterprises around Squamish is weak by comparison to these other B.C. communities, in scale and depth. As for growing this local industry through an ongoing public investment in collective, cluster-based initiatives, the participation of new secondary manufacturing ventures will be a big factor for potential outcomes. These would contribute or support the essential infrastructure (dry kilns, etc.) for a worthwhile undertaking (i.e. beyond an "artisan village").
The Cheekye Fan, however, would not appear to be an attractive location for a secondary wood product manufacturing plant, even if a log sorting yard might be established there.
A wood manufacturing development strategy should instead focus on the obvious and outstanding opportunity Squamish offers: its waterfront lands. The prospects for attracting a new larger-scale manufacturing venture to this uniquely advantageous location are very good. Product focus and export market possibilities for such a plant are not difficult to identify.
An integrated plan for encouraging a clustering of value-added enterprises around a new anchor manufacturing facility on the waterfront should be the most practical, economical, and sustainable route to developing a vibrant, mature local wood industry.
The community of Squamish must come to terms with the inherent, strategic role of its waterfront and location for industry and transportation in the bigger picture, and for its own well being. Community visioning and strategy should also take into account the opportunity and the embarrassment of 750,000 cubic metres of timber exported each year from this corridor without processing. Conflict with other evolving economic, social and cultural goals should be unnecessary.
It's about Smart Growth - "Each community is complete", "Good jobs are close to home", "The spirit of each community is honoured", "Everyone has a voice"
In defense of Price
I'm surprised that nobody in Squamish praised Al Price's column about Ryan Aldridge (The Chief, March 4). It sure raised a lot of controversy. Who really cares if a low-life like him re-offends? Our police force will be watching I guess! I hope Ryan realizes he's luckier than most getting another chance.
I guess the best thing to happen with Bob's tragedy is that we have a successful triathlon in Bob's honour. I knew Bob well enough that I know it was his dream.
How will we be read?
While I was away in California last month, I remembered I could click on www.squamishchief.com to keep up with local news.
Like messages of old etched onto cave walls, the musings of Squamish folk and the events of daily life, past and present, are "etched" across the computer screen for all to read. It's amazing, isn't it, and just a little scary to think that anyone from around the world can go to the internet and see what we are up to.
A couple of friends asked, "Who really cares?" Well. . . I know of several people who, before they chose to visit Squamish or made a decision to move here, went to The Chief's internet site. They checked out local happenings, the police reports, and letters to the editor to get a feel for the town.
I wonder what others will read about us in future?