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Developing Squamish: Council green lights Tantalus Village third reading

In a 6-1 vote, a mixed-use project on Tantalus Road with about 300 residential units receives third and final reading for rezoning.
With the passing of the third reading, council will presumably adopt rezoning at the next regular business meeting.

After a marathon of a public hearing, council ultimately approved a new mixed-use development on 40480 Tantalus Rd.

On Tuesday, April 9, council held a public hearing about the proposed project dubbed Tantalus Village from proponent Target Homes. After about 15 people spoke, council passed the third reading of the rezoning application for the project by a 6-1 vote. Coun. Lauren Greenlaw was the sole opposing vote.

With the passing of the third reading, council will presumably adopt rezoning at the next regular business meeting.

Several council members who supported the project said the development was not without fault, yet the overall benefits outweighed the shortcomings.

“It doesn't address every concern that's been raised, but we have worked really hard to try and balance all the competing interests here,” said Coun. Chris Pettingill, who also referenced the housing needs assessment. “Again, it's not perfect, but I think it gets to a place where it does meet the thresholds where some of the trade-offs are acceptable.”

The debated project lies just north of Fire Hall No. 2 on Tantalus Road with one building on the west and two on the east. There are about 300 residential units proposed across the three buildings, each six storeys in height. A District staff report from Feb. 20 states about 77.5% of the project is residential, 20% is commercial, and 2.5% is commercial child care.

“As I reflect on where we’ve landed, this is not a perfect development, but it is meeting a lot of the benchmarks that we know are desperately needed in our community,” said Coun. Jenna Stoner. “And, predominantly, that’s the housing needs assessment which requires ... 6,840 new homes by 2031.”

Public feedback

The majority of the public who spoke lived near the project and raised some issues relating to the six-storey height, increased traffic impacts, stormwater and flooding, and impact on neighbouring properties. A few who spoke were supportive of the increased housing for the community.

There were numerous community amenity contributions secured with council’s approval, including about $1 million cash in lieu and donating a portion of the floor area to the ӣƵCommunity Housing Society. Other contributions include land for a park parallel to Highway 99, a corridor trail connection, and a connection to Coho Park.

“The benefits of this proposal, particularly in the contributions to our perpetually affordable housing society, the addition to market rentals and the addition of the park spaces to our park network … make the benefits of this project outweigh the harms that are caused to the immediate neighbours and the immediate neighbourhood of the community,” said Coun. Andrew Hamilton.

Also included is money for public art, a no-gas covenant across the project, and 20% of units needing to be three bedrooms, among others. A traffic signal to the Garibaldi Way and Tantalus Road intersection will also be installed before occupancy.

Reason for opposing vote

Greenlaw spoke briefly about why she voted against the third reading. 

“My concerns still gravitate towards my previously voiced concerns around carrying capacity for our region,” she said. “And, in addition to that, I do have a lot of concerns about the … traffic around intersections that are currently failing or will fail with the volume introduced by this project.”

Greenlaw was also the only opposing vote for the project’s second reading. During that council meeting on March 19, she made a plea to the province to provide more financial support to ӣƵfor regional transit, retaining educators and doctors, child care and more.

“A community needs more than just roofs over their heads to be livable,” she said at the time.

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