When District of Squamish Works

Gabrielle livsey

A quick and easy change in the district bylaw helped Gabrielle Livsey, above, expand her business. Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb. 23, 2013

Fairly or unfairly, the District of Squamish garnered a reputation for delays and bureaucratic red tape .

Developers left town, swearing never to return to Squamish, telling anyone that would listen that this is a town closed for business.

But then there is Gabrielle Livsey.

Her case illustrates that when the city hall acts swiftly and without delays, it can help spur the local economy.

A middling little restriction removed by the district two years ago has helped this home care provider expand her business.

“The change in the bylaw helped me and will help other community members,” Livsey said.

In May 2010, Livsey started Little Explorer, a day care at her home. It was, in technical terms, a registered Licence Not Required, or LNR.

That means it was approved and regulated by CCRR, which works under the umbrella of Sea to Sky Community Services.

This allowed her to take care of two children, besides her own.

 If she wanted to expand, she would have to get a provincial license.

 And Livsey did want to expand her business.

 But before she could apply for a provincial licence, she hit an unexpected roadblock.

 It was the district Home Occupancy Zoning Bylaw.

The bylaw restricted family child care from operating in town homes, condominiums and apartments.

The town house where Livsey lived, Rivers Walk, was a 2,300 square foot area with a fenced yard.

That was enough space for seven children, according to child care licensing regulations.

Then, she found out something that surprised her: Squamish was the only place in the province that had the restriction.

 The bylaw had never been reviewed.

Lisa McIntosh, the child care resource and referral consultant, brought this to the attention of the council.

The amendment was made. Livsey was now free to expand her business.

And she did.

In 2011, she applied to be provincially licensed, and in February last year, she finally received the go-ahead from the province.

Now, she provides day care for five children.

She can go up to seven, but says she is happy with five for now.

If the district had delayed or refused to change the bylaw, she would have had to buy a single-detached home.

That would have meant more delays.

She was happy, rather pleasantly surprised, at how quickly the district moved to change the bylaw.

 “It was smooth and easy,” she said.





  1. Veronique masse says:

    You are awesome Miss Gaby:)

  2. Ryan M says:

    Well done Gabrielle!

  3. Auli Parviainen says:

    That’s great news, it’s good to see a system working effectively. Kudos to everyone involved.

  4. Carole Bird says:

    When we were building our restaurant we had no problems with the district. Everything went smoothly, even when we recently needed approval for our new sign it all happened in a timely manner.

  5. Dave says:

    This should be a model for the District to mirror in the future and and not fall back on it’s, hithertoo, stifling “red tape” reputation. Good for you for highlighting this. This is what Squamish needs.
    Kudos to you Gabrielle, and Gagandeep for your story.