It’s exciting times for the quickly transforming town of Squamish BC, and although not everybody loves change, it is hard not to be excited about what’s transpiring in the community. From sleepy logging town to thriving start-up hub and tourist centre, the new energy in town is an attractant or a repellent, depending on your point of view. If Squamish had a word that described this era best it would be ‘change’ and for those that like looking ahead to the future, here are some exciting seeds to plant and plan for.
Transit Connecting Squamish and Vancouver
It may soon become a lot easier for Squamish residents to commute and travel into Vancouver and Whistler with the likelihood of BC transit connecting the corridor in the next few years. As part of the BC Transit’s Sea to Sky Transit Future Plan a weekday service connecting Vancouver and Squamish could be a reality by 2020 with a weekend service to follow. Although talks of a transit connecting the corridor have been going on for years, BC Transit has flagged this route as high priority so we’re optimistic it will happen in the short to medium term future.
A Downtown Waterfront
Two big projects are set to re-shape the Squamish waterfront and solidify our position as a Sea to Sky community. Newport Beach (formally known as the The Oceanfront Project) is now underway and will attract 6,500 new residents and 2,300 jobs once complete. Some highlights of the project include a sailing and wind sports centre, educational complex (including a Green Tech centre which is currently underway), public park and beach as well as residential and commercial developments.
Visions of an oceanfront promenade lined with walkways and restaurants overlooking the Howe Sound and Stawamus Chief are sure to entice. Phase one, the Green Tech Centre and public parkway and beach is now underway. Over the coming years this exciting project will really take shape, enticing more people to our seaside town and providing plenty of opportunities to live, play and invest.
Another addition to the Squamish waterfront is Waterfront Landing by Bosa Developments. A mix of residential and commercial this master-planned community will likely have a marine/ tourism feel and will connect to downtown Squamish via a pedestrian footbridge. The sale centre should be erected in the first half of 2018 with sales commencing shortly after. There will be approx. 1,000 residential units and pockets of retail/ commercial. What was once a polluted and industrial waterway will now be a revitalized community hub.
Breweries & Wineries & Cideries (oh my!)
Squamish is quickly becoming a micro-brewery mecca with additional liquor establishments to come on the scene in 2018. Long time establishment the Howe Sound Brew Pub maintains its position with Backcountry Brewing and A-Frame Brewing Co. opening their doors this year. We have Gillespie’s which has a tantalizing portfolio of fine spirits and a cocktail lounge which mixes up mind-blowing concoctions. Soon to launch a pair of cideries and Squamish’s first winery which will produce its own brand of wine, and provide a crush pad for serious vintners to make wine locally. Squamish now has so much choice when it comes to hip and fun drinking establishments, social lives around town have just upgraded to a new level.
A Thriving Start-Up Scene
In 2016 Squamish was ranked the Best Place to Work in the province by BC Business Magazine, also in 2016 the town had a record number of new businesses applications. Start-ups are happening everywhere and across industries from food production, rec-tech, trades and construction, technology and more. The Sea to Sky Business Park which recently attracted new tenants such as Air House, Ground Up Climbing Centre, and Tall Tree Bakery is now constructing its third 36,000 sq. ft. building which is already ½ leased with exciting new businesses.
The work-from-anywhere culture in Squamish is rife with many people logging-in online to report for their workday, overwhelming coffee shops with nomadic workers and sparking demand for co-working spaces like The Common which opened last month. Squamish is on the forefront of an evolving workforce (read our article about it here), with an innovative, dynamic and lucrative start-up scene it really is an exciting business culture.
More Places to Play on a Bike
Biking is the common bond that connects a majority of residents in Squamish and we are now, without a doubt, recognized as one of the best mountain biking destinations in North America. Apparently, it isn’t normal for two-year olds to be ripping around on run-bikes, but in Squamish they start young, riding almost as soon as they’re running.
To complement our world-class trail network, extensive BMX course, and collection of pump tracks around town, a bike park is expected by spring 2018 behind Chances Casino in Valleycliffe. Fueled entirely by volunteer hours and money, the park is beginning to take shape and when complete will offer a world-class BMX bike park facility that will hopefully become an additional resource for the thriving BMX community in Squamish, and attract visitors from around the region.
Future Ski Resort
Legitimate future development or a deflating pipe dream? Only time will tell. Garibaldi at Squamish, an all-season resort just north of Squamish, has been talked about for decades. In early 2016 the project inched forward when obtaining an environmental certificate however there hasn’t been much more hype surrounding this project since then, other than the same story of local government opposition.
The project, which falls under the jurisdiction of Squamish Nations and the Squamish Lilloet Regional District (SLRD), is not in the vision of local governments in the Sea to Sky Corridor. Now with the province under an NDP government the project is probably pushed further back. The developers, two of BC’s richest families, have persevered despite set backs over the years and it wouldn’t be a surprise that we will one day see this project manifest when all of the right powers align.
There is no better time to be in, or move to Squamish than now. For a youthful, energetic and progressive community surrounded by some of the most stunning nature in the world, 45 minutes to Vancouver and 35 to North America’s leading ski resort, Whistler, the desirability of Squamish is clear, and the attractiveness is certainly catching on. For more information about what it’s like living here, to learn about the local real estate market, or to take a tour of the town to see if it’s the right fit, contact the Team at Move to Squamish today!