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Gondola receives SLRD board’s third reading

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Proponents of the Sea to Sky Gondola project received more good news from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) board table on Monday (May 28) in Pemberton, where the bylaw and OCP amendments for Electoral Area D were given third reading.

Board members heard results of the public hearing in mid-April and were told that most attendees were supportive, while many opposed had misconceptions about the project — that the gondola would land on the Stawamus Chief, for example — or had frustration over the Province’s process of reclassifying of provincial park land.

A handful of conditions were placed upon third reading, including the provision of a covenant to ensure that trails, amenities and an interpretive plan are included. Final adoption of the bylaw amendments will also be deferred until after B.C. Parks legislation reclassifying 2.36 hectares of land that’s currently part of Stawamus Chief Park comes into effect. The legislation was introduced earlier this month.

SLRD staff said it’s likely the province will have completed its work on the proposal by June or July, around the same time the bylaws could receive adoption from the SLRD board.

Area D director Moe Freitag asked whether it would be possible to continue moving forward with the commercial rezoning of the area proposed for the upper gondola station in the event that B.C. Parks does not approve the proponents’ request.

“There is other opportunity there if this doesn’t go through,” Freitag said.

SLRD planner Kim Needham said the application is moving forward solely as a gondola-accessed facility.

“To change the entire access scheme at this point would trigger another public hearing,” said Needham.

Loan request supported

The SLRD board supported the use of an alternative approval process (AAP) for a loan request that would go toward improvements at the Squamish District Community Pool.

The DOS is seeking $1 million to spend on an aquatic deck air unit and pool boilers.

Squamish director Patricia Heintzman said the upgrades would save thousands annually compared to current operating costs for a system that has become outdated.

“It’s a couple of different systems that are basically 40 years old and need to be replaced and the worry is that they’ll fail in the next year or two,” Heintzman said.

Under an AAP, residents of the pool’s full service area, which includes Squamish and parts of Area D, may voice their objection to the loan agreement. If more than 10 per cent of electors object to the request, authorization must come via a petition or referendum.

Bylaw amended

Area D’s noise bylaw was amended with language establishing quiet hours and language more clearly defining prohibited noise, despite the fact that Freitag said having a noise bylaw in place has been “a disaster” to date.

“(Dealing with noise complaints) probably burns up one-third of my time and there’s no effective mechanism to enforce it,” Freitag said. “It’s a disaster, and part of the problem was lack of consultation with the electorate.”

Freitag noted that the different, distinct communities in his area have differing views on what should be considered nuisance noise, leading to further problems.

Though several other directors recognized the problems with enforcement, such as cost and the lack of available resources to crack down on noise-makers, most felt having the bylaw in place at least gives the regional district some tools in dealing with noise-related incidents.

“A bylaw sets down a standard,” said Squamish director Rob Kirkham. “Otherwise, what are you talking about when it comes to noise?”

The quiet hours established in the bylaw amendment cover 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays and are extended to 8 a.m. on weekends.

Area D is the only electoral area in the SLRD that has a noise bylaw, though direction was given to staff on Monday to continue development of one for Area C, the semi-rural area surrounding Pemberton.

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