District announces Oceanfront Lands negotiating team; SODC transitions to new role

The District of Squamish has announced the team that will negotiate the Oceanfront development agreement with Matthews Southwest Developments (MSW) and Bethel Lands Corporation (Bethel). The core negotiating team includes:

  • Jay Wollenberg, President of Coriolis Consulting Corp. Wollenberg has been an invaluable advisor to the District during the marketing and RFP phase of the Oceanfront Lands. With over 30 years of practice as a professional planner and real estate analyst, Wollenberg has been responsible for a wide array of market analysis (for retail, service, residential, office, and industrial uses), financial analysis, land use planning, community planning, and other projects. He has advised development companies, investors, businesses and all levels of government.
  • Don Lidstone, Lidstone & Company, legal representatives for the District of Squamish. Lidstone has practiced generally in the area of local government law since 1980. His local government law focus is in the areas of governance, opinions and agreements, land use and sustainable development, regulatory approvals, and legislative drafting, which has included the drafting of the Community Charter.
  • Corien Speaker, Chief Administrative Officer, District of Squamish

The negotiating team will be supported by:

  • Linda Glenday, General Manager of Development Services & Public Works, District of Squamish;
  • Jonathan Silcock, Project Manager, Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation;
  • Mayor Rob Kirkham;
  • Chris Bishop, Director of Development Services, District of Squamish, (seconded to coordinate District processing);
  • Other experts as required.

“We have assembled a team of highly experienced and sophisticated negotiators with a deep level of technical expertise,” says District of Squamish Acting Mayor Patricia Heintzman. “We are all very excited about this process as we enter the final stage toward the realization of the community’s vision.”

The transition to a District-led negotiating team is necessitated due to the nature of much of the negotiation. So many of the details – from servicing agreements relating to sewers, roads and water, to discussions surrounding Development Cost Charges – require a District team to be at the helm.

As a result of being at this point in the process, the three members of the SODC Board of Directors have submitted their resignations to allow for the District-led negotiating team to move forward. SODC Chair Bill McNeney, Vice Chair Gregg Smyth, and Director Matt Fraser are departing upon successful completion of the mandate that Council gave them; market the lands and deliver a prospective development opportunity for the Oceanfront.

“Bill, Gregg and Matt have worked through an incredibly tough challenge, and have done an inordinate amount of work on behalf of the community to get us to the exciting juncture we now find ourselves,” says Heintzman. “Our appreciation for their efforts cannot be expressed enough. The community should be proud of their efforts, and join us in expressing thanks to them.”

The Board has effectively dealt with the monumental task of marketing Squamish’s crown jewel to the world and has brought back to council and the community, an exciting development proposal that recognizes the importance and value of this property to the community.

“I have been truly fortunate to work and engage with so many committed people to this fantastic project for our community,” wrote McNeney. “Personally I am very proud of the team we put together and the results we delivered to you. Best of fortune in going forward in these very exciting times for the Oceanfront Lands. Our great community deserves this future.”

“We recognize this is bittersweet for the Board as they step aside from a project they have invested so much into,” continues Heintzman. “We all share in the optimism for Squamish’s future, and look forward to the same end goal of completing this process.”

Negotiations with the MSW/ Bethel team are set to begin November 13, 2013. Council will be kept apprised of the negotiations and will weigh in as required. As key pieces complete, or as any aspects arise that require community engagement, they will be brought forward to the public.

In order to continue to fulfill the requirements of the SODC, a new interim Board of Directors has been appointed. District staff Linda Glenday, Randy Stoyko, General Manager of Business and Community Services, and Rod MacLeod, Director of Engineering will fill the positions. The SODC’s function moving forward will be to continue to oversee environmental monitoring, continue to fulfill the financing requirements and wind down operations. The terms of the agreement with the developers will further define the SODC’s role into the future.

November 7, 2013

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