1000 home development planned near Porteau Cove

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Michael McCullough


The Squamish First Nation is in talks with Concord Pacific Developments to build as many as 1,000 homes near Porteau Cove on the Sea to Sky Highway.

Steve Olmstead, manager of planning and development for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, said he expects to see an application for a development permit for the site, 38 kilometres north of Vancouver, over the next few months.

As part of a land swap with the province and B.C. Rail dating back to 2000, the Squamish Nation had the option to acquire a strip of land on the shore of Howe Sound running south from Porteau Cove Provincial Park approximately to Deeks Creek, Olmstead said.

“It’s our understanding they have exercised their option,” he said. The purchase price was reported by BCTV News on Global to be $12 million.

Though the district has not seen the proposal yet, Olmstead expects it will be on the same scale as other master-planned communities it has approved in the area, such as Furry Creek and Britannia Beach. Those were primarily residential developments with between 800 and 1,000 units at full build-out. Given the distance to commercial services, the project could also include a convenience store and/or cafe.

Covering more than 500 hectares, the site of the potential development is steep and rocky, making it expensive to service with water and sewer lines, Olmstead cautioned.

The developers may be forced to concentrate the housing in the most affordably developed pockets with stretches of green space in between.

Squamish chief Gibby Jacob was attending a funeral Tuesday and could not be reached for comment on the band’s plans.

Concord Pacific spokesman Tracy McTavish confirmed there have been discussions with the Squamish, but said nothing has been finalized.

Concord is best known for developing Vancouver‘s Expo lands on the north shore of False Creek. After 16 years, that project is nearing completion.

Concord Pacific has a reputation as a quality builder and a shrewd marketer.

In the absence of a development proposal, SLRD director John Turner, the elected representative for Porteau Cove and other unincorporated communities south of Whistler, declined to comment on the Porteau development. But he said area residents recognize there will be more development in the run-up to the 2010 Olympics.

“It’s one of the fastest-developing areas of B.C.,” Turner said, pointing to continued development by Burrard International and Parklane/Tanac at Furry Creek, the proposed redevelopment of Britannia Beach by Britannia Bay Properties, and the Sea to Sky University and other projects in Squamish, not to mention the 2010 Nordic centre in the Callaghan Valley.

Turner himself lives in Furry Creek, where 127 of a planned 900-plus homes have so far been built.

He said the pace of development there has picked up over the past two years after a lull.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

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