District of Squamish is planning to engage deeper with Garibaldi Estates residents after ‘a high level of concern and frustration” was expressed by residents during the Garibaldi Estates neighbourhood planning process.
These concerns were exacerbated by speculative developers approaching area residents that gave the impression that the outcome of the district planning process was predetermined.
“Considerable concern has since been expressed that the process would result in high-density development across the neighbourhood regardless of the input from community members,” the District says.
To allay those concerns, the District is planning deeper level of in-person engagement with neighbourhood and community residents before moving on to the next planning process.
The proposed engagement activities would run from January to May 2022 and would focus on a series of small group discussions where participants would meet with District staff and Council members together.
Ten such meetings are planned between now and June.
A discussion guide would be created for these conversations, which would include information such as the VLA Bylaw, examples of “missing middle” housing and questions that lead to an open dialogue about the planning process in Garibaldi Estates. Residents of the Garibaldi Estates would be a focus of these meetings, along with local employers and the business community, service providers and advocates in the housing sector.
However, Garibaldi Estates resident Paul Kindree says the neighbourhood doesn’t support the extension of the planning process. In a letter he wrote to the Council, Kindree said the planning department had acquired enormous amount of responses from the residents.
“The message from residents is LOUD & CLEAR. The suggestion to extend and create small group discussions is precisely what concerned residents at the DOS Open houses and is what caused residents to lose trust in the process. It also begs the question, what possible knowledge could they expect to gain that they don’t already have?” he said.