By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Oct. 6, 2012
Michael Goodman finally got the fourth reading for his equestrian project after five-year long and bitter fight with the district, and in particular, the planning department.
But it’s not exactly relief or happiness that is running the circuit in his heart and mind.
It’s remorse, he says.
“It’s better to have zoned land than unzoned land, but anywhere from 2-3 million has been wasted on this whole process,” he said.
Goodman, the president of Tri City Group of Companies, said he is busy analysing whether there would be any profit margin left if he went ahead.
He is confident, however, that there is still market for an equestrian based community.
“If there’s any market for any product, it’s this (Paradise Trails),” he said.
Goodman said the plots in the Paradise Trails subdivision could sell anywhere from $300,000 to -$350,000 range.
But before the project gets to that stage, there is more work to be done on design criteria for risk mitigation.
And here, he says there are already questions that have been left unanswered by the district.
“We haven’t really got the complete criteria even now. They have changed the criteria seven times in seven drafts,” he said.
Building the dike for flood safety, for example, has emerged as a contentious issue.
Goodman said Paradise Trails was told a dike would have to be built for one-in-a-500 year flood event, while provincially, and even in Squamish, the standard is only one-in-a-200 year’s old event.
“Now, there’s a gigantic difference between the construction cost of these two dikes,” he said.
Goodman said he hopes the dike standard, and other such issues, would be resolved before they reach subdivision agreement.
“We have proved we have staying powers, but who wants to play another silly game with the district,” he added.
Goodman also questioned the district wisdom in asking to divert the money he was offering ($200,000) from his fire department community amenity to the hydro bridge upgrade.
Paradise Trails had offered $200,000 towards the purchase of a pumper truck and other items needed to establish a volunteer fire department in the area.
Heintzman said a new truck costs $600,000, and the district would be liable for fire safety.
“There is a reason we don’t want to put ourselves in that situation, because we have no ability to make that promise of a fire department,” she said.
“There are several infrastructure issues that need to be addressed,” he said.
District planner Chris Bishop said the Paradise Trails project requires a certified Hazard Mitigation Report be prepared by the proponent’s consultants.
He said the proponent is aware that they must propose a mitigation criteria in conjunction with their consultants first, and then send it for district review
“The district has not received the certified hazard mitigation report, nor has the developer engaged the District regarding further application,” Bishop said.
Bishop remarked that it was the proponent’s consultants who had quantified the Cheakamus River debris flood hazard with a 500-year return period event.
This approach seemed reasonable to District staff and the District’s consultant, Bishop added.
At this time, the district is waiting for more information (including a proposed design criteria and dyke crest elevation) and an application from the applicant.
Goodman says he is willing to work with the district if it’s reasonable.