The District of Squamish, B.C. announced it has committed to invest $43,477,930 on critical infrastructure replacement, active transportation, preventative maintenance, flood protection and capacity upgrades in 2021.

The direct impact on tax payers will be just $1.2 million of the total amount while the remainder will be obtained from a variety of sources including grants, loans, reserves and development cost charges. This division of funding sources represents an equitable way to share the cost of infrastructure upgrades between current residents, developers, other levels of government and future residents. Each of the projects supports Squamish’s investment towards its long-term goals to be a community that is resilient, liveable, connected, healthy and engaged.

“These projects aim to address the District’s demands for our ever-growing community while maintaining our commitment to the climate emergency with a focus on walkable neighbourhoods, accessible transit systems, and safe cycling infrastructure,” says District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. “Master plans guide our project selection each year so that we’re strategic in prioritizing projects that support growth-management in Squamish, and address the current strains that we are experiencing as the community evolves.”

$1,835,000 will be spent to upgrade pedestrian and cycling infrastructure throughout Squamish to improve safety and encourage alternate forms of transportation as part of the District’s Active Transportation Plan. 2021 will see the projects implemented in a phased manner and includes the addition of a separated bike lane along Pemberton Avenue and lighting of the Corridor Trail along Loggers Lane. Once complete, the projects will increase and improve transportation choices within the community in order to provide an accessible, safe, sustainable and efficient transportation system for all users.

Intersection and transportation improvements are also planned around Garibaldi Way and Tantalus Road to help address traffic flow and safety of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles in this busy area. This junction is a major connection to north Garibaldi Estates and its awkward alignment and multiple driveway accesses are creating challenges for all users as the community grows. A budgeted amount of $750,000 has been set for the improvements.

Significant upgrades are planned for the section of Mamquam Road between Government Road and Highway 99 which will include storm, curb, gutter, parking, sidewalk and protected bike lane, as well as sewer, water and paving work. The projects require a total expenditure of $3,877,000 and once completed will improve the active transportation infrastructure along this important east-west connector route. The projects will also address existing capacity shortfalls with 300 metres of sewer and 650 metres of water upgrades.

$227,000 has been set for construction of the Dentville Community Park as part of the Official Community Plan’s (OCP) Sub Area Plan for this area. Community parks are designed to create neighbourhood node areas and improve active and recreational connectivity. The playground will have a number of features including a zipline, covered shelters with an accessible picnic table, plaza area with bench seating, bike racks and a multi-use pathway connection to Discovery Trail.

The construction of the Pioneer Way Extension project will progress in 2021 with a budgeted $4.2 million to upgrade Pioneer Way to an arterial road with curbs, sidewalks and bicycle lanes. This project will enhance access to the Business Park which will enable employment lands to thrive.

$10 million will be invested over the course of two years for the improvement and implementation of flood protection upgrades to protect Downtown Squamish. A total of $16.7 million will also be invested in community safety with the relocation and upgrade of Squamish’s main fire hall to Valleycliffe. The new fire hall will be a modern and resilient post-disaster building that will become the new Squamish Fire Rescue headquarters, housing the fire and emergency program administration and the Emergency Operations Centre.

Featured image: District of Squamish downtown.

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