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Britannia Beach development takes another step forward

Public is invited to comment on Macdonald Development’s project on June 18

Speak soon, or forever hold your peace — the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District is allowing a 87-unit proposed housing development to take another step forward.

Macdonald Development’s project in Britannia Beach passed second reading in last month’s regular SLRD board meeting and will therefore go to public hearing.

The hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m. in the Britannia Beach Community Hall.

“I’ll be very surprised if it’s anything other than overwhelming support,” said director Tony Rainbow, who represents the Britannia area. “[However,] there are always people who are going to say, ‘No I don’t like that.’”

Britannia Oceanfront Developments, the subsidiary of Macdonald responsible for the project, is proposing 60 for-purchase townhomes at market rate, 13 for-purchase live-work townhomes and 14 rental apartments.

The development is expected to be constructed in front of the mining museum.

There have been concerns raised about flood protection in the area. Authorities anticipate the development would require a geonet to filter out debris, should a flood occur.

The big question? Who would foot the bill.

Annual maintenance costs for flood mitigation, such as the Geobrugg safety net, is estimated by the regional district to cost about $23,200.

Board members directed SLRD staff to take a look at cost-sharing formulas.

Rainbow said it’s likely that 90 per cent of the cost will be paid by property taxes from the new development’s residents.

Britannia residents from the existing neighbourhood would be expected to pay the remainder. The proportions may change, depending on the feedback they receive, he said.

“That development doesn’t go ahead unless that net is in place,” said Rainbow. “However, it also protects other things that are vital to the whole of Britannia, such as our waste water treatment plant and our water delivery systems, so [there will] likely be a small addition to taxes to Britannia as a whole.”

SLRD staff are also asking Macdonald to consider depositing $285,000 into a reserve as insurance just in case a flood occurs before enough tax dollars have been collected to pay the costs of potential damage.

It’s estimated a substantial flood — deemed a one-in-50 year event — would cost about $425,000.

There were also concerns about parking, but an SLRD information report says the regional district hired a consultant to have a look at the development’s commercial parking proposal.

The firm, Creative Transportation Solutions, said that the commercial parking allocations would be sufficient and recommended that the SLRD support the proposal.

About 302 parking stalls are required to meet the influx of vehicles, the firm said, and the plan would provide 307.

During the board meeting, the SLRD also authorized a temporary use permit that would allow Macdonald to set up a sales centre in the area.

Rainbow said that it’s being set up in one of the existing heritage buildings.