District of Squamish is working with partners to lobby Province for support to address high visitor numbers

The District of Squamish shares in the community’s concern about the ongoing number of weekend visitors to our community, and is working with partners including the Squamish RCMP, neighbouring municipalities, the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD), Squamish Nation and the Province to tackle the issue.

The District is limited in its enforcement tools as many of the areas in question are outside its jurisdiction, including Highway 99 and Forest Service Roads. District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott, in conjunction with the neighbouring Mayors, SLRD Chair and First Nations leaders, is seeking urgent support from the Province.   

Road signs

"Later this week, a joint news release from member municipalities of the SLRD will go to Lower Mainland media to reiterate the message of ‘visit later’. We are hoping that when that news release goes out we are in a position to say that the Province is building on its current response to dissuade more visitors,” says Elliott. 

Electronic sign boards on Highway 99 north and south of Squamish have been in place for two weeks with messaging asking people to stay home. A robust social media campaign issued by Destination BC is being echoed by local tourism associations including Tourism Squamish, asking people to Explore BC Later.

While many residents are calling for the closing of Highway 99 to local traffic only, or closing of Forest Service Roads in addition to provincial parks and provincial recreation sites, only the Province has this authority. 

“We are asking residents to keep in mind that at this time the highway is a critical piece of infrastructure that not only supports the supply of goods to our region, but also enables many essential service workers to get to and from their jobs in the Lower Mainland,” says Elliott.

Planning continues locally to enact a plan for Easter Weekend traffic within the existing jurisdictional controls of the District and RCMP.

“We understand the anxiety that exists within Squamish over this issue and please be assured that we are doing everything we can to find solutions. However, as the weekend approaches, it is important to remember who we are as a community, that we do want visitors to come back in the future, and that our most important tool for our own health and safety is to avoid crowds, and keep up with physical distancing for ourselves and our loved ones,” continues Elliott.

On Sunday, Mayor Elliott invited residents via her Facebook page to voice any concerns to the Province about travellers to the region. Residents wishing to write to the Province with their concerns can find Ministerial contact information for Minister Mike Farnworth (Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General), Minister Claire Trevena (Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure) and Minister Selena Robinson (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) at this link.

Further details will be available mid-week. In the meantime, visit the District’s web page at https://squamish.ca/covid-19/ for resources and links to Health Authority information.

April 6, 2020

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Comments

  • Janice Apr 7, 2020, 3:05 PM (8 months ago)

    Attention: Premier Horgan, Minister Dix, Dr. Bonnie Henry!
    Please STOP traffic that is not local to the Sea to Sky Corridor! The lower mainland is heavily bearing down on this area and bringing ‘high virus risk’ with it! We implore you to put in place mitigation to prevent this flow!

  • Iain Warren Apr 7, 2020, 1:31 AM (8 months ago)

    With restricted trail and outdoor access in the GVRD, Squamish is an inviting option. Cityidiots won’t abide by anything unless there is a police road block on 99, like sometimes on Friday afternoon before May long outside Whistler.

    However for those of us that enter the community and self isolate away from others at all times, why should we also be punished.

    Perhaps Marshall law is the only way forward for everyone’s sanity.

  • Mary I Natrall Apr 6, 2020, 11:47 PM (8 months ago)

    My concern is the safety and wellness of my family we are staying at home. Keeping safe distance. When I look out my window there are people riding their bikes or riding in their cars to the waterfront.
    If they think they won't get Covid 19.
    Why are they not at work?
    Maybe they should be out out helping the community. Stacking shelves etc.

  • Dave Kerr Apr 6, 2020, 8:52 PM (8 months ago)

    Please close vehicle traffic to Garibaldi park at top of Mamquam Rd. So many folks riding out of the 1st and 2nd parking lots.....been a tailgate party since Whistler closed.

    I am a rider but fellow riders are not practicing physical distancing or self isolating with family members alone.

    Suspect many of these rider are from out of town...... welcome anytime but now.

    With no control this longweekend will be a few for all!

  • Joan Forry Apr 6, 2020, 7:44 PM (8 months ago)

    Glad to see Squamish residents concerns being addressed! Not an easy time for anyone but seeing all these vehicles parked on the side of the road does not help either with Covid 19 or good relations between visitors and locals. Please...stay in your own neighborhood and come visit us when its all clear. Stay safe folks!!

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