‘I Don’t Want Malls on the Highway’: Susan Chapelle

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Jan. 27, 2013

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Chapelle says another bank downtown won’t benefit her in any way possible. Outside her office on Cleveland Ave above. Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman

Susan Chapelle might be a rookie councilor, but her self-assured impulse is that of a seasoned veteran.

In the last one year, she has taken a few bold, sometimes lonely stands she is willing to defend as boldly and breathlessly.

In this interview with the Reporter, she reflects back on this one year, explains her controversial stands on the drive-through bank and restaurant, and her revisionist vision of Squamish.  

Q: It’s been a year since you were elected, so going back, why did you want to run for councilor?

I’ve been in politics since I’ve been here, I ran a business here, and I dealt with the district on a lot of different levels and wondered why is it slow, and what do u mean you screwed up the waterfront, what do you mean you ripped up the paper in front of the developer.

There was no long term vision, it took us ten long years to get the OCP adopted. So, I was involved with the BIA, with the chamber, and I had people asking me to run, and I thought that would be a probably good thing.

Q: But what were some of things that were upsetting you when it comes to the district?

Business process was a big thing, trying to run a business in this town is prohibitive. For the very first business I bought land here and built health care clinic, it was really difficult dealing with the district.  

I also felt the demographics of Squamish haven’t been represented in the council, the younger demographic who own businesses in town.

Q: How has this one year been for you?  

Well, I was one of those on the outside saying ‘why don’t you do this, why don’t you do that, but government is not responsible for everything. I also realize we have huge infrastructure problems, and we are not isolated with these problems.

It’s about understanding that there is limited control on what goes in policy, but people can ask for monumental changes. You also learn about how to be open to the public. Policy is a huge issue, we are looking at policy that hasn’t been updated since 1970, and even that was done in a series of silos.

Q: How much time do you put in council work?

Well, it’s at least 30 hours, we get the agenda in the week, and it can be easily 400 pages, and on every agenda, there are items I have no understanding about.

Then, I try to go get out and personally meet constituents, and I will go to the city to talk about policy issue. I try to make sure I talk to enough people.

Q: Many people felt your opposition to bank was a bit unwarranted

Well, not many people, but look we have kept our institutions downtown. Now, TD Canada wanted to buy land across the RCMP building and they were told ‘you have to go downtown’, so we have already have an instant where we refused someone because our OCP said so.

But yes, if you blur your eyes, and say it’s a commercial institution, you can do that, but a bank is never a commercial institution.

Q: But don’t we have precedence for a commercial bank there?

Well, we have a mall, and that is a bank in a mall, and I’m not sure what precedence that took. But, I don’t want malls on the highway, I want shops and retail downtown, there is lots of land downtown, and there is no reason why financial institutions can’t go downtown.

When a developer comes to town, they want to sell the land and make money, but you have to decide if the developer has the same vision. Two fast food restaurants exactly a few blocks from each other makes no sense to me, plus that land is the entrance way to our town.

I mean Tim Hortons is a fantastic business, and they employ a lot of young people, he contributes to the town, but does he need two donut shops to do well, maybe not.

Q: Some people say you personally stand to benefit from this with your business downtown?

Well, I love downtown, my business is a healthcare institution, there is nowhere else zoned for it, but I have no personal motive, this doesn’t benefit me in any form or way.

Q: You don’t shy from taking bold stands?

We are at a time where if we don’t have a bold policy, then how do we differentiate ourselves from towns that have their downtowns destroyed by highway restaurants.

Q: Yet, a number of people showed up to support the bank and the restaurant?

Well, the only people that showed up had a pecuniary interest in that lot. In municipal politics, everyone can show up, but the only people that showed up that day were those who stand to gain financially from this venture.

 But there are a lot of people who came to me and said they want the bank downtown. I mean BIA, which is a huge group in town, was opposed to that.

Q: Some people are of the view opposing a fast food restaurant is being elitist?

As a community, we pride ourselves on being healthy conscious and ecologically friendly, and fast food is not the only option. It’s not elitist at all to oppose a drive-through restaurant.

 

  

Comments

  1. Elliot says:

    That last question is kind of ridiculous. The one before it was very true and indicative of the typical decision process here. Was there no more intelligent topics covered in the interview? Perhaps more background on Susan and her process of researching precedents for her decision inputs she makes in council? And in particular, more about her efforts for public transportation?

  2. Corinne Lonsdale says:

    Councillor Chapelle needs to be more careful in the statements she makes. She could get into trouble. I was at two of those meeetings and spoke at one. I have absolutely NO pecuniary interest in the Tim Horton’s/ CIBC propoasal on Government Road. I know there were others attending as well that would not benefit monetarily. I spoke as I felt strongly that the project was a good one for this area. The neighbourhood with the highest density in the District of Squamish is less that a half a kilometre away . Those who live there should have an opportunity to WALK to a bank instead of leaping into a car, that emits greenhouse gases, and drive three plus kilometers downtown. 2/3 of our population lives north of the Mamquam Bridge and should have all needed services in fairly close proximity. As far as the Tim Horton’s goes….shorter lines at the existing one and possibly a shorter drive (less emissions) will also contribute to less congestion on Industrial Way and a healthier airshed. Those are only a couple of reasons. Increased employment was my main concern. What seems odd to me is how one whose focus has been economic development and job creation can say “no” to badly needed jobs in an area that was already zoned commercial.
    Historically when we had lots of local family supporting jobs the Downtown flourished. We did not have to leave town for anything. Today that is not the case.
    Balance is important in a community. Unfortunately in my opinon some of our Council members seem to be less realistic than idealistic.
    We would all like to see a vibrant downtown, but until the LOCAL population supports the business in that area it will not happen. The travelling public do not set out to go shopping in Squamish.It is foolish to think that those who have not set out to go shopping in Squamish will change their focus . Costly signs on the highway and fancy entrances are not the answer. Previous surveys have demonstrated that those who work in the Lower Mainland do a good portion of their shopping in the Greater Vancouver area. The driving time to the Lower Mainland is not prohibive and as our commuting population grows the downtown business communtity will continue to struggle. Perhaps we need a moratorium on residential development until we substantially grow our employment base

    • Susan Chapelle says:

      That meeting was the first time I was personally picked on by a proponent of a project Corinne, I wanted to thank you for that. A former mayor should know they cannot do that at a public meeting.
      First I have heard that putting in a drive through would create a “healthier air shed”. Not sure where that statistic comes from. As well, not sure who will “walk to the bank”, the bank will be a pull off for drivers to Whistler. That corner will be an insane traffic lot, of idling, with not great bike options and right by a school. with much traffic making a U turn in Brackendale when they realize they have made a wrong turn. Yes Mr. Bechard, there are plenty of donuts to be had, and any other fast food you desire. Do we need two of everything so as to reduce the wait in line? People waiting in a line up for 20 minutes before they get out of their cars to get coffee. Yes. I am opposed.

  3. Jason Bechard says:

    “As a community, we pride ourselves on being healthy conscious and ecologically friendly, and fast food is not the only option. It’s not elitist at all to oppose a drive-through restaurant.” That is the statement of DICTATOR, making decisions for people she has never contacted. Must be nice to be able to paint the entire town with such a broad brush and still be able to sleep at night.

    How dare she sit there saying what is good for all people of Squamish. She is not my mother and I am an adult can decide what is good for me.

  4. Larry McLennan says:

    Why doesn’t Susie let the businesses decide whether it is practical economically to locate where they are allowed? It appears that there is a bias against fast food (and perhaps banks) that is influencing her decision processes. I used to have a credit union here in the Highlands that I could do my banking at. Now It is downtown. I now drive there & back to do my banking(I know there is a new one in the mall). The point is that businesses are expanding to the North of town and provision for all kinds of business should be considered. The OCP should not be considered as set in stone and inviolable. It should be a guide and subject to change as is practible. No council is capable of projecting 10 years into the future with complete accuracy. 5 year plans for the various socialist governments have shown that. Council must be pragmatic not dogmatic.

  5. Donald Graham says:

    After reading the Susan article and then Corinne’s response , we obviously have the wrong person on Council.
    If the reporting was accurate , then it surely doesn’t reflect that our current council member , claiming to be a business person , has any idea what basic forces drive a busines.
    CIBC and Tim Hortons are among the most sophisticatedCorporate analists of market needs in the continent. They don’t open a branch so that no one opens an account .They don’t run their store to overflowing , they open another one to take up the available surplus capacity; and they both go where their market research tells them is the optimum location.
    T/D benefits only because of the pull of Nesters and Starbucks. If the Post Office were to close on Cleveland BNS would be out of there in a week.Its all about LOCATION that works.
    Maybe Coucil should have forced the bank/donut shop to go to the SODC lands- there’s STILL lots of space.
    Oh! and I didn’t have a finacial interest in the CIBC/Tim property either.

  6. Freda Hoff says:

    You are “right on” Susan. The more development along the highway, the more we take away from downtown. If we want a vibrant downtown we need to encourage businesses to go there. And yes, I live 5 km. north of downtown. The effort of going downtown is worth it. The ambiance for shopping, having coffee, meeting friends is not in highway malls for me. Have we not learned anything from other communities that have allowed excessive development along the highways out of their towns ?

  7. Dave says:

    You know what Freda, we are a community up here too. Tantalus Way is a community, G.Estates is a community, G. Highlands is a community and Brackendale even calls itself a “Republic”. So enough of the exclusive “Downtown”. All is important and all should be serviced, whether it be strip malls or corner-lot banks and fast food outlets…even vetinary clinics:-)
    None of what we have now or in the future up here will take away from “Downtown” because that is a community in its own right and should/will survive on its own merits. Let growth be!
    Modern Squamish is a town from Valleycliffe to almost Alice lake, like it or not.
    Do we really separate Point Grey, Kerisdale, Kitsalano etc. from Downtown Vancouver when we think of Vancouver? At least , I don’t think they get upset about it like so many here do about our sub-areas.

  8. p says:

    Idle no more

  9. John says:

    Perhaps of all the many people who took the time out of their personal lives to speak in favour of the Garibaldi Way project in question at the District sponsored public hearing in December, only I could possibly be accused of having a financial interest in the successful outcome of this project. The company I work for, R.F. Binnie & Associates, has provided civil engineering services to the developer, Michelle Charlton. I made no secret of this when it was my turn to speak that evening, declaring to all present what my role in the project was. As Binnie’s Division Manager for our local office, I am pleased to be able to contribute to such a project that will bring a form of economic development to the community and badly needed services, especially with the CIBC bank branch, to the neighbourhood where I also live. Binnie has had a branch office in Squamish for over 20 years now and we have worked on scores of similar projects all over this community, employing full-time employees who also live here in Squamish. However Ms. Chapelle if you recall I also clearly spoke as a locally-based Professional Engineer recognizing the roadway, traffic flow and intersection improvements this project will bring, as well I spoke as a tax paying, voting citizen and resident of the area who wishes to see improved services to my part of town.

    Should my rights as a citizen and my right to speak up at a public hearing be denied or my motivations be called into question just because I go about my daily work life and livlihood as a consulting engineer. We all are entitled to our opinion Susan, even if it is different from yours. I attended this public hearing in its entirety and cannot see how you can say that “the only people that showed up that day were those who stand to gain financially from this venture”, this is simply not the case and maligns those people that did exercise their democratic right to come and speak in favour of the re-zoning application and the project in general. By my count they were in the majority, by a healthy margin. To the benefit of the community, most of our elected officials that night were listening.

    • Donald says:

      John, it was a pleasure to read such a beautifully writen piece.

      Just to make a point , “just a few people showed up” overlooks the fact that 250 residents of Brackendale were in effect there , represented by Brackendale Owners and Tenants Association (BOATA). Not pro or anti , but making observations , for example that it would ease traffic to have “Entry Only” from Mamquam Road and entyr/exit at Government Road, and a foot path onto the Greyhound Bus Depot.

      What do you think John?

  10. Jane Iverson says:

    We need more councillors like Susan Chapelle who are not afraid to voice their views.
    More drive through businesses and strip development along the highway are not what I would like to see continuing to become the norm in Squamish. The types of jobs created by Tim Horton’s and the CIBC, dollar stores and chain stores are not going to pay a living wage for the majority of their employees; more likely to be a wage that would barely sustain an individual, let alone support a family! I also doubt that there will be many that actually walk to these establishments, so they may just as well drive the extra 5 minutes it takes to get Downtown to do their business and they may be pleasantly surprised by the unique retail shops and cafes they encounter along the way.
    I do think Corinne is right in suggesting we put a moratorium on further residential development until the local employment base catches up with the population. We need to work harder at attracting clean industries that employ a lot of people while paying decent wages that will assist in preventing so much commuting.
    People from out of town will (and already do – ask Anna’s Attic, for instance) support the unique shops in the Downtown, if there is a vision and design plan put into place to support and encourage this type of commercial retail activity.
    Fort Langley, Steveston and Ladner are popular destinations for tourists and people from the Lower Mainland and beyond to visit on a regular basis. What makes everyone so sure that Squamish could not also become a similar shopping destination? I frequent these places because they are unique, stimulating and creative. I also do my utmost to support the small, locally owned shops and cafes in Squamish.
    A design plan for the Downtown could be created that makes this area a special zone where only a distinct type of retail and cultural amenities would be allowed. Build it and they will come!

  11. John says:

    Thank you Donald – I beleive you mean ‘Garibaldi Way’ not ‘Mamquam’. Our design includes a ‘right-in/right-out’ on Garibaldi Way (no lefts) and your suggested full in and out access/egress on Government Road – this gives full flexibility in the design and traffic flow while prohiting left turn movements onto Garibaldi, something requested by DOS Engineering and agreed to by Binnie and the developer. Our design also includes ample sidewalk/pedetrian route opprtunities along the property frontage on Government to the bus station.

    FYI, I counted about 20 speakers that night: 2 were opposed; the developer, Ms. Charlton; the future Timmy’s franchise operator; myself (and I stated clearly that I was wearing three hats – a consultant to the developer answering technical questions on our design, but also as a local Professional Engineer concerned about road safety in my neighbourhood and as a tax paying resident of Garibaldi Highlands) and the rest of the people who spoke that night were normal ‘joe’ citizens who simply wanted to see a Tim Hortons and a CIBC in the north end of town.

    J. Grainger

  12. Dr. Geoffrey Bove says:

    I’m not from Squamish, although I have visited numerous ti,es over the last few years, and have considered moving there. Susan Chapelle is a three-year colleague of mine, for disclosure. Over the last 6 months, I’ve sent Susan some links to places in the USA where downtown areas have gone fallow, abandoned for strip malls. It seems to not take much to get the ball rolling. I’m not against Tim Horton’s (oh — though think twice if you think that they do not make your health choices for you — marketing is damn powerful). Anything that helps people stay out of downtown hurts downtown. Planning takes vision; hesitantly, I’ll say that most people’s vision is pretty short. When problems do not seem to have evident solutions, creativity is called for, some would say, a “right brain” approach. My experience with Susan, in the world of health care and biomedical research, is that she has good far-vision and certainly has creativity in thought. I suggest that when she takes a “lonely stand” that you try to think about it from outside yourself, as I know she does. You might just agree with her.

  13. Donald says:

    John ,
    11 years here and still get Garibaldi wrong , of course Mamquam partly borders my beloved golf course.
    Right out on Garibaldi adds to congestion that can be avoided by exit only on Government ,much needed because of cross traffic having the ability to turn left into the gas station.
    Sure there will be a nice sidewalk down Government to the bus station, but picture this. Prince George to Vancouver Greyhound pulls into the depot, 40 people have 5minutes to get off, rush to Tims for a coffee and rush back. Do you really think they are going to parade down the driveway, trip along the sidewalk, march past CIBC and take the return stroll? Or do you think they’ll just make a straigh line to Tims , right through your hedge. That’s why BOATA suggested a direct connecting path: after the same connecter problem occured with the wee mall behind the 7/11 across the highway.
    Donald

  14. John says:

    At one point the developer and the owner of the bus station property did look at the possibility of a stepped walkway directly from the bus parking lot and the Tim’s lot, however the way the site is layed out that it would have conflicted with the exiting drive-thru’ traffic, and therefore discounted it, relying on the sidewalk instead.

    JG

  15. Wolfgang Wittenburg says:

    A sitting councillor does not want ‘Malls on the Highway’, a former councillor calls for a moratorium on residential development and between it all the refrain ‘Downtown, Downtown! Wow!

    While I agree with Susan’s negative observations on drive-throughs, they are also what the paying public apparently wants, or neither Tim Horton’s nor TD Bank would commit financial resources to them. As to ‘Malls on the Highway’, that decision was made long ago, and the best we can do is to contain further development within, or as closely as possible, to the present commercial cores north of the Adventure Center.

    Corinne mentioned that 2/3 of the District’s population live north of the Mamquam Bridge. She is right that they deserve to have services available within closer proximity than Downtown. Those who still object to Wall Mart, Canadian Tire, London Drugs, etc. I would like to ask whether they really think that the throngs of shoppers you encounter there would instead support small shops in Downtown? If these mega stores were absent from Squamish, would it not be more likely that these shoppers would make the drive to such outlets in North Vancouver? Remember, we also attract shoppers to our large stores from Whistler – Pemberton and beyond. Shop owners in those towns could make the same argument about loss of business.
    And to those, including sadly some on Council, who decry the jobs generated by them as Mac-jobs – at least they are jobs. Have you got anything better to offer?

    Coming back to Downtown! Downtown! While I do have some disagreements with commentator Jane Iverson’s views, I fully agree with her observations on Fort Langley, Steveston or Ladner. I have made similar comments on previous Downtown topics. What makes the places mentioned stand out is that they are not claiming to be ‘downtowns’, but function as ’boutique centers’ in their own right. Yes, they are places you like to go strolling, full of interesting shops and inviting eateries, all of them attracting not only locals but also outsiders.

    The notion of simply ‘Downtown Squamish’ has to change into ‘Historic Downtown Squamish’ to make it emerge from its present limbo, because ‘historic’ it has become after the shift north in the past decade of commercial activities and population. No hand-wringing or pious intonations by a councillor or anyone else will bring those businesses back to Downtown. The present initiatives of Mayor and Council to make ‘Historic Downtown’ more attractive as a destination to visitors and locals alike are an encouraging step in the right direction .

    Corinne, I am sorry, but your musings on a ‘moratorium on residential development until we grow substantially our employment base’ makes me wince for several reasons: What you really propose is a moratorium on population growth. Such policies have an unenviable record of failure throughout the word, even in places where governments could enforce them. Such a moratorium would deny the very people we like to attract to Squamish – the young and energetic – to make their homes here. Even though they might temporarily have to commute elsewhere to make a living, their energy, brainpower and youthfulness are also the basis from which will form the critical mass for the District to become an employment generator in its own right again at some point in the future.
    We have to get away from the ‘resource town’ mindset – where people used to build towns around resource extraction or harvesting. This is the 21st century of highly urbanized societies living in, or in places close to, large and sophisticated urban centers, with spinoffs from the center having the capacity of creating sustainable employment also outside the core. Just look at Bellevue, Wash. or the Silicon Valley and places around Houston, Tx as examples.

    That is why Squamish has to be ‘Open for Business’ as Mayor Kirkham so refreshingly stated in the ‘Chief’s’ ‘Council Corner’. His message is one of being pro-active, not one of simply waiting ‘until the employment base grows’. We’ve done enough of the latter, and wanting to continue on that path of wishful thinking, Corinne, you may as well be reminded of the two characters in Samuel Beckett’s play, “Waiting for Godot”, the two were waiting forever…

    Just some thoughts of a recent ‘Squamisher’ and grandpa to two ‘Squamishers’ by birthright.

  16. Eric Andersen says:

    Two comments: First, we’re not at all done with “Highway Commercial” planning issues yet. For example, the entire Hwy99 stretch between Clarke Drive intersection (Elaho Logging Ltd. site) to the north side of the Blind Channel bridge is full of evolving issues: new “Commercial” land use (re-)designations; proposed large hotel in a clumsy, questionable location; Scott Crescent proposed housing with high-density, pretty significant (!) building massing; another anticipated property sale and (highway commercial) rezoning application; unsafe vehicle access as is to all of the above and likely to get worse; plus unsafe and inconvenient pedestrian and cycling connections through this area between neighbourhoods and Downtown, shopping plaza and the high school; Adventure Centre not visible to northbound drivers; no coherent signage strategy … and all of this in THE GATEWAY OF SQUAMISH.

    I think we need to look at a bigger picture than this Garibaldi Way drive-through issue.

    Secondly, and a bit off-topic: In addition to whatever else it is and may become, Squamish is and always will be a resource industry town and Interior B.C./hinterland export product handling and/or processing and shipping centre BECAUSE OF ITS LOCATION as unique route through the mountains and tidewater portal. Much as some would like to, or can only see us as a Vancouver suburb, we cannot change this geography. Too much fossil fuels use would be required to move aside our mountains for more land use options. We must make do, and get along.

    Industry firms and organizations have been trying to get the attention of the District of Squamish and its planning and economic development programs, to issues and opportunities for increasing numbers of high-wage jobs and enhancing our industry tax base. It is very difficult! There is some recent progress – we hope!

    So Wolfgang, I must say to your “We have to get away from the ‘resource town’ mindset”, and “enough of… that path of wishful thinking”, and “of simply waiting ‘until the employment base grows’.” NONESENSE! The fact is, industries and potential investors are WAITING FOR ATTENTION.

    Did you know that the last time any Council committee heard a presentation on value-added wood industry development was seven years ago?

    I am very sympathetic to Corinne Lonsdale’s suggestion re jobs-housing ratio balance. We continue to put too much priority in facilitating housing developments, relative to economic development strategy.

    • Wolfgang Wittenburg says:

      Eric, I am not sure whether I should be more delighted or more shocked about your comment. DELIGHTED about the industries and potential investors waiting for attention or SHOCKED about the lack of attention paid them by previous councils. Facilitating housing developments and developing a viable economic growth strategy should not be mutually exclusive.

  17. Brad Hodge says:

    Where I grew up, the travel time between Brackendale and Downtown would have been the equivalent or greater of driving from Aurora to Newmarket Ontario, two completely separate communities. At times, I kind of feel like Brackendale is its own little universe, same with Garibaldi. I’m not at all keen on strip malls, but local shopping/banking choices close to where large population centers are makes eminent sense to me. If we want people to engage in healthier lifestyles, there is a better chance of someone walking or biking to a bank 1-2km away rather than 5-7.

    I feel a bit leery of comparisons of Downtown Squamish with other Downtown areas. In my opinion our waterfront will never be as pleasant to walk along as say, Steveston’s, owing to the wind (the source of our name) and usually nasty weather. I laughed at the artist renderings of SODC with people sitting pleasantly at umbrella tables sipping drinks. My rendering would have chains around the table and people gripping buildings for dear life. I’m not convinced Carmel-by-the-Sea is a realistic vision for that area, although I hope I am proven wrong. People often make comparisons to other areas that in my opinion are not apples to apples. Some say we should dictate development like Whistler, but we do not have a world class ski resort that businesses are desperate to be near. Other downtown ‘shopping districts’ are smack in the middle of highly urbanized areas, with the kind of local foot traffic volume that makes it possible to support themselves. And then there’s the ‘history’. Most downtown cores that people fight to preserve have a lot of standing history remaining – wonderful old buildings, curvy streets up hillsides, etc. Much as I love Downtown, I don’t really see that playing out there. It’s flat, the roads are spaced extremely close together (which I would think mostly rules out large commercial developments), it’s at one windy end of a long valley and most of the historical structures are long gone. I’m not buying it as the next Fort Langley and expert opinions aside, I really don’t think it will thrive without local support. The vision needs a rethink.

    I don’t know what the answer to all this is, beyond my belief that we have to fill up the whole valley with enough jobs and people that Downtown will prosper anyway. With most businesses I see struggling with high overhead and a mediocre local economy, we’re a long way from that.

    As a sidenote Wolfgang, I lived in an example of an anti-development community, called King Township. It has preserved most of its original charm, big acreages and farms and so on, right smack in the middle of a highly urbanized part of Ontario. Unfortunately I could never dream of affording a house there and land taxes can get north of $10,000 a year to pay for sparse services. It’s effectively a gated community. Probably not a model we want to emulate, I agree.

    • Wolfgang Wittenburg says:

      You are of course right with regard to ‘history’ if narrowing it to ‘of historical value’, Brad. What I wanted to emphasize is that the Downtown is historic in the sense that the valley’s commercial heart, which Downtown once was, is now further north and has become important enough to create its own momentum for future growth on the Highway, whether one likes it or not. You and Dave are certainly right when saying that all of the District’s sub-areas or nodes have their own characteristics and each require attention focused on their specific needs.

      As to ‘historic’ Downtown again: The film industry certainly seems to like the mix of small town quaintness with the ruggedness of its surroundings, but we are fast destroying that too with the various uninspiring concrete ‘bunkers’ (hello Eric:) popping up along Cleveland Avenue.

  18. Dave says:

    Right on Wolfgang!…Some sense at last…I’m done on this one.

  19. Donald says:

    Well I must say I enjoyed this lively and intelligent debate; especially mine.

    Many years ago I took the Hudson ride from North Van (where I lived). The train backed up the siding discharging us all onto Cleveland. My first thought was”what a dump, now what do we do”. I wonder what has changed to make a visitor think otherwise!
    Ironically, the only HISORICAL interest downtown is that very railway track that the dear old Hudson used. Of course Council plans to rip it all up.
    SODC spent untold amounts of money designing ” a symbolic emblem-a SAIL” at the head of the lands. We already had a magnificent emblem in the shape of the old railway loading dock, a hisorical structure reflecting industry of the past. Sure it needed money to make it safe, but that never seems to be a problem for SODC. All at a time when “emergency” money was spentby the OLYMPICS on the closed down loading dock to the pulp mill.
    I just love all the railway trackage at Granville Island.

    There , I’m done too.

  20. Nicholas says:

    I think that Susan Chapelle’s idea of a downtown is noble. However, the image of Squamish she has is quite idealistic. It is of my opinion that “build it and they will come” is inaccurate. If a business sees no economic future in the downtown core, forcing them to build in that area really just hurts consumers and producers. Sorry for the economic-like preaching, but what happens in this situation is some people are just left out. People that would have gone to Tim Hortons or CIBC on the highway may no longer be able or willing to make the trip downtown, creating a loss both for them and CIBC and Tim-Hortons, and for this town.

    Susan, I feel that for you to suggest what kind of people live in this town is beyond your power as a government official. It is, in my opinion, your role to represent the community. You speak to the Tim Hortons following on the vote day as if they were the only ones with a vested interested in bringing a Tim Hortons. Let me remind you that Two-Birds Eatery waged a campaign against this development project, of which you made multiple comments on via facebook (This discusson on facebook had over 80 comments and 37 likes). In my opinion, this is extremely unprofessional, especially when reading your comments. “Tim Hortons is a great business locally owned but still sells fat and fast food through a drive through window. He has fantastic employee’s and they put back. 2 locations? Hmm Low income jobs.. hmmm… drive through.. not so much. Bank should be downtown. Our OCP asks for it. When we start deviating our OCP because a nice guy wants to open a fast food restaurant, (which they can do with current zoning and no drive through) and a Financial institution, we have to stick to what the community wanted when they adopted the OCP. That location will be a fast food restaurant drive through forever.”. Does this sound professional to you Susan? Let me also remind you that the Tim Hortons and another restaurant were already zoned to be built. The only reason this went to council is because instead of having TWO fast food restaurants there, we wanted a bank instead. Hence, reducing the “fat served out of windows” by a significant chunk. We elected you to represent us, and you waged a war against something that was passed months earlier. Of course the mayor had to remind the councillors what the actual vote was about. You especially seemed to be highly miss-informed about the topic at hand.

    Susan, I’m sorry for the personal nature of the comment. I must admit that the image of downtown that you pose sounds awesome. However, I feel that you have a narrow-minded vision of the future that is tailored to your desires and the desires of those around you. As a a representative of Squamish, that is not your role. You were elected to vote and represent decision made by the citizens of Squamish.

  21. Darren says:

    As a business owner in Squamish, i understand the need to balance our long term goals with the short term needs of the community. We need jobs and investment in our community to support the services our citizens need and want. My business isn’t in downtown Squamish and neither is the majority of the population of our community so trying to force every service and new business to the downtown is very frustrating to me. Putting services and businesses nearer the larger population of Garibaldi and Brackendale is a good thing. These citizens shouldn’t be forced to drive or bike or walk all the way downtown whenever they need to do things and i would love more traffic from people in Valleycliffe and downtown coming to visit my store. I didn’t hear the councilor objecting to adding more dollar stores to the already numerous discount stores in our city so why is it a problem to add another fast food establishment? I would also question what year our development plan was set out that we are still trying to follow as with the new highway and ease of getting into Vancouver, many locals prefer shopping there and that impact on local businesses is felt everywhere, not just the downtown. I assume Susan that you are a city councilor, not just a downtown councilor? If that is the case, then as painful as it may be for you, please also take into account the fate of businesses not based in downtown….but still required to pay taxes as if we were being treated on an equal basis.

  22. Susan Chapelle says:

    I love the public engagement this article and issue has generated. To say a role on council is not a place to imagine the future is (hopefully) as far from truth as politics is these days. Politics, if more engaging, if we had people with broad opinions coming out, if urban design was forward thinking, if we allowed for walkways, less parking lots and infrastructure for cars that do not pay for that infrastructure, then things might (might) be a little better. I in no way imagine our downtown as the solution for every ail, but it is where we have the most undeveloped land for industry, retail as well as residential.

    My vision is tailored to the other new persons who come to Squamish with a vision, helped by the fact that most move here for the environment, not for low paying multiple stand alone fast food restaurants doubling themselves. Donuts are not amenities, a bank, we have 6 including the next block down. I would love to envision a Squamish where people in Brackendale would walk to the bank. It is a drive through. My issues were not the business, but the fact it went against the OCP that my community worked long and hard to get adopted.
    Squamish is sprawling. Being divided by sprawl and highway development has done horrible things if you look outside our community. There is current research as to what brings people to town, and drive through highway sprawl is an unfortunate way to have people pass right through.
    I would love people to take more of a stand when outside developers come and buy our land up to put in fast food. In and out, not local, tenanting the land with quick and easy makes for a bigger profit margin. Despite the fact that all 6 of us spoke against this, only I voted against. It is a done deal now, and I hope the complaining about the traffic pattern changes will make those who are dropping their kids off at Mamquam, riding their bikes, be safe. I hope I am incorrect when I see flooding to the Kowtain property due to insufficient drainage. I hope people will not use the exit, find they have gone the wrong way then U turn on the road. I hope in 6 years, when the traffic plan (only 5 years of traffic plan, most are 10 year studies) that they don’t find the traffic to be overwhelming.

    I also hope people reply, keep me informed of their views negative or positive, engage council, show up, and give their views of how they see their town progressing. I hope for a more walkable, more people oriented town in the future, not a town that is made for single occupancy cars, parking lots, drive throughs, emissions, impermeable pavement, and highway sprawl. This is not the Squamish us new comers moved here for.
    Those who think that jobs bring people are wrong. Read any urban planning, research. People bring jobs. Thank you Wolfgang for pointing this out. Excited, creative, young families who get tired of commuting and make work for themselves locally. The global economy is changing, we must be on top of things with ideas, education, opportunities, Time to examine how we have done things, and perhaps not continue to make the same mistakes by being short sighted.

    Heres something to argue about, imagine if all of our large parking lots were used for retail and business development. Walkways in-between the shops. Taxes coming in from commercial development as opposed to single car parking we can use the taxes for real, affordable transportation that everyone can use, that comes faster than once an hour. slchapelle@me.com. Tell me what you think. Engagement is the only way we can utilize the clever community around us.

  23. This article is now closed for commenting.

  24. TJay says:

    Love drive-ins. They don’t have to be on the main drag though aye ?
    ….Hate ugly strip mall towns, 100 Mile House is a good example of a very very ugly town…