Municipal Hall Lease versus Build: The Facts and Context

The District is aware that the topic of District facilities, upgrades and expansions has been on the minds of residents and that there are many questions. Council continues to explore multiple scenarios to fund facilities and balance community needs, and we will continue to engage with key community partners and share information as it’s available.

It is true that the District is considering a lease for municipal office space as part of an overall strategy to replace, expand or renovate over $150M+ in built assets. A series of articles and posts have been published on this topic, however many of the assertions made in some posts are incorrect. We want to set the record straight.

3 main points to clarify:

  1. The question is not: “Should the District lease versus build municipal hall?”. The question is: “How can the District afford to upgrade two firehalls, the Public Works buildings, Brennan Park (with a new rink, pool and wellness centre), expand the Squamish Public Library, and build new municipal offices?”The District cannot afford to do all these projects in a timeframe that is needed. Leasing municipal office space is being analyzed as a way to afford all these projects over the next decade.
  2. No final decision has been made on lease versus build, no location has been selected, and no preferred developer has been identified or awarded a contract/agreement. The District advertised an Expression of Interest in February 2020 to identify private developer options/opportunities, and multiple proposals were received. A shortlist was prepared, and proposals will be evaluated against the cost of owning, before any final decision is made.
  3. The District has not discounted the possibility of either building/owning or leasing a new Municipal Hall, potentially in collaboration with other parties. No doors have been closed to any opportunity. Partnership opportunities identified to build/own will be weighed against the costs and benefits of a lease.

View background information, as well as specific answers to some of the questions raised in the recent article(s) at the link below.


January 27, 2022

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