Bob Cheema to hold off on fencing property

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb 6, 2018

 

Developer Bob Cheema said he will put the fencing around his land in Garibaldi Highlands on hold after talking to representatives of Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA). He said SORCA members have urged him to put the fencing on hold as they talk to the community and council on finding a solution. While the present fence remains with a door unlocked, there will be no new fencing.

“Council continues to move the threshold every time the OCP comes up for review with no clear justification as to why. This type of administrative arbitrariness is inexplicable and unreasonable.

 

“SORCA wants to work with me and they have asked me to put a hold on the fence and I will be doing that. They are going to talk to the community and the officials and the mayor and council,” Cheema said in a phone interview.

 

He said he has had concerns about the liability of opening the trails but has always been always willing to work with the SORCA on integrating the trails into his development. Cheema said in fact this hasn’t been a developer drive project to begin with.

 

“This hasn’t been a developer-driven project but more of a community driven project considering the widespread use of trails by the mountain biking community and other members of the community as well,” he said.

 

He said the community was requesting for the cap to be removed, as it would allow the creation of Canada’s first Mountain Bike Community Hub, which would allow for economic growth in the millions as well as the creation of hundreds of new local jobs and an opportunity for small local businesses to grow.

 

Cheema owns lots 509 and 510, about 450 acres of under-developed mixed-forest hillside north of Garibaldi Highlands and west of Mashiter Creek. H

 

Last month, council voted to keep the population caps in the Official Community Plan, which limits development in particular areas until the point where the population reaches 34,000, a decision Cheema says is arbitrary and lacks transparency.

 

“Council continues to move the threshold every time the OCP comes up for review with no clear justification as to why. This type of administrative arbitrariness is inexplicable and unreasonable. Administrative decisions should be transparent and have consistency,” Cheema said.

 

Cheema was especially upset at two councillors, Karen Eliott and Jason Blackmann-Wulff, whom he said were not really listening to the community when it comes to retaining the trails and support the vision for the development. “They are dead against it and don’t seem to be realising that this is a community-driven initiative,” he said.

 

SORCA president Jeff Cooke said he was pleased to know Cheema will hold off on fencing as there is a chance to work cooperatively, he said.

 

“We can get a much better result than if everyone takes up a hard line stance on this, and gets upset with each other. We are working with council to put together a clear vision and we need to keep working on what this development could look like and meet the criteria for it to go forward,” he said.

 

 

 

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