Downtown development gains support

Solterra’s plans for two tall buildings in downtown Squamish move ahead without any clear opposition at public hearing

More housing and businesses may soon be coming to Squamish’s downtown, after a new development sailed through a public hearing virtually unopposed.

Solterra Development has proposed two mixed-use buildings for the “Plaza at Junction Square” on the property at 37870 Cleveland Ave between Main and Vancouver Streets. The north building will be six storeys and the south building will be eight storeys. There will be a total of 154 residential units, a public plaza, and 25 per cent of the space will be dedicated to retail and office space.

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Of the residential units, 18 will be “affordable rental units,” 13 will be purpose-built market rental, and 15 will be adaptable housing units.

After a recent council decision around community benefit contributions, developers have changed their cash contributions from $235,000 up to $500,000, significantly more ($430,000) than required by the draft bylaw. 

They have also proposed building more than $100,000 worth of public art on site.

And although there were previous concerns raised at a public information session in April about the height of the buildings, loss of views of the Stawamus Chief, and parking, none those concerns were raised Tuesday evening.

Four people spoke at the public hearing, all voicing support for the project and the developer.

Steven Tulk, who said he represented himself as well as the KiteClash competition society, spoke in favour of the application. The KiteClash event is sponsored by Solterra.

Tulk said he was impressed by all the community contributions included in the application, including the public art, as well as the commercial space.

“The office space is something that is very needed in this town,” he said. “As a business owner myself, people looking for office space and retail space, and I think that’s a sorely needed asset in this community, so that’s why I’m behind this project.”

Daniel Grains, who owns Squamish Watersports Ltd. on Second Avenue, said he thinks the proposal is a good mix.

“I think the balance between business, residential and art is well articulated in this plan,” he said. “I think it does adhere very nicely to keeping that waterfront feel as well as the views of the Chief. So, I definitely would support it.”

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