Paradise Trails Proponents Lash Out at the District

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 28, 2012

Paradise Trail proponents have lashed out at the district of Squamish, singling out the planning manager, Chris Bishop, for failing to acknowledge the proponents had satisfied all conditions for fourth reading.

District of Squamish planning staff has remained steadfast in their opposition to the Paradise Trails, and Tuesday’s council meeting was no different.

Paradise Trails is an equestrian-themed community at the northern most boundary of the district in the Paradise Valley, but the proponents say the experiences they have had with the district have bee rather hellish.

“While the manager of planning told us verbally a number of times in the past few days that we have met all conditions, his report is silent on the matter,” proponent Michael Goodman said in a media release.

Paradise Trail proponent Michael Goodman has been enagaged in a protracted and a very public battle with the district over the equestrian project in Paradise Valley.

“We’re very disappointed.”

Chris Bishop is on vacation until Aug. 7.

Christie Smith, the district communication manager, said the district is ‘continuing to work diligently’ with the applicant to to move his file forward.

That sentiment of disappointment, however, is mutual.

The staff didn’t mince words on why they felt this wasn’t the right development for Squamish.

“The subject lands are prone to flooding, hold high wildfire risk, and have a single access route,” the staff mentioned.

Although an extensive hazard management study has been undertaken, mitigation work remains outstanding.

Besides, the staff noted, the development didn’t conform to the Smart Growth principles, and OCP guidelines.

The Paradise Trails application first came before the district on February 2007, and was vehemently opposed by the staff on grounds that it runs counter to district policies on growth and development.

Still, it made up to the third reading on Oct. 2008, but has been stalled ever since, with the developers alleging inaction and red tap at the district.

In an interview with the Chief last year, Michael Goodman had suggested the delay had cost him $1.5 million, in addition to the original investment of $6.5 million.

Still, the district staff has held steadfast to the opinion that the development does not ‘fit well’ in this location.

The planning staff feels that if approved the development will have implications for road and dike maintenance, solid waste services, and bylaw service patrols including bear and other wildlife activities.                                                                    

“In the future as these systems reach their operational lifespans, the District may be lobbied to assist or take over the ownership and operation of these systems,” the report says.

Goodman, however, feels the report is a failure of process which we intend to discuss this with district officials. Although the decision on the fourth reading was deferred to September, it is clear planning dept doesn’t like the project.

“We would like to know, is Squamish really ready to bury its past and move on? 

Comments

  1. heather gee says:

    It does sound like ” a failure of process ” …… Would it be asking too much for the staff to inform this group exactly what would fit their requirements? (way back in 2007)

  2. Peter Legere says:

    Thinking out of the box: Move the district boundaries back to the south boundary of the property, and hand the responsibility over to the SLRD.

    All these concerns were present when Michael first proposed this development. Why are we just hearing of them now, after the proponent has invested a ton of money?

    “The planning staff feels ” should not be part of the equation. “The planning staff has the numbers to prove” would be more appropriate. Of course, they don’t have any numbers to back up their feelings, that will require another study.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting it takes 5 years to get to fourth reading in The DOS. Is this acceptable? DOS staff outlines the area is a ” high wildfire risk ” All of Th DOS is a high wildfire risk. Ask your local politicians how much is spent on wildfire risk management and firesmart work in The DOS? Road and Dyking maintenance are an ongoing issue as they are for the entire DOS . By law and solid waste however are less so. The local garbage contract already requires pick up on Midnight way and the operator would likely be more than happy to receive the extra business in the valley. How far is it from PT to The DOS landfill, and how far is it from Plateau Drive in Valleycliffe to The DOS landfill? By law services would likely not be called often as Equestrian/Rural Estate owners have for years in this country been great stewards of the land and I am sure are not going to stop now. As Mr Legere stated perhaps The DOS should move the boundary and let The SLRD take on the file. Once again “feelings” are getting in the way of good governance and best business practices.

  4. Craig C says:

    The idea is interesting but I just don’t see this development being a success. We are entering a global downturn in residential real estate where supply is out weighing demand. More residential is not what Squamish needs at this point. Britannia Beach wants to bring on 4000+ residences, The Squamish Ocean front wants to bring on another 1000+ residences. Squamish has plenty of inventory it can’t sell so where is the demand for this project coming from?

    • Peter Legere says:

      Surely the proponent is the best judge of that. Not much room for horses in Downtown. Horses are generally owned by people with money; people who are happy to pay their own way. Moving the goalposts is standard practice in Squamish governance, and has been ever since the first “planner” (read regulator) was hired.

      No wonder the Vancouver Board of Trade advises it’s members not to do business in Squamish. I have watched the growth of the empire since Dave Stewart hired the first bureaucrat, a Fire Chief, who burned down his fire hall and the town hall with it. It just keeps getting worse and worse.

      According to the Spin-Doctors at City Hall, the District has cleaned out the deadwood, and the development community can now be assured of fair treatment. Yeah, right. This is an example of the “new leaf” ? Let’s move the northern boundary to the southern boundary and toss out all the deadwood.

  5. Elliot says:

    How many standalone recreational developments occur in other areas throughout BC? Bucketloads!; upon which a different set of principles are applied (not Smart Growth, that is for internal normal residential expansion). I believe we have another red herring in the pickle barrel my good people! DOS needs to get over itself trying to control everything and anything so strictly on idealistic principles, obviously at the expense of it’s own economy. /// Worried about potential infrastructure support costs many long years in the future?; say what?!; Where were these self-styled diligent people when DOS spent a $million to commission log books carved by the mayor’s friend?!!!

  6. Nate Dolha says:

    If the requirements have been satisfied, then it should move to 4th reading, plain and simple. All this dancing around will only lead to one place – a courtroom…