Squamish Oceanfront Development

District of Squamish addresses recent community questions surrounding Squamish Oceanfront Development


District of Squamish Council has brought forward for public information, an unsolicited interim financing proposal that was presented to the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation (SODC) by Bethel Lands Corporation (Bethel) in 2011. The proposal was presented to Council by the SODC Board during a closed Committee of the Whole meeting on June 7, 2011.

The proposal was primarily rejected by Council because it did not follow the necessary public process that any such solicitations for proposals would require. The proposal from Bethel aimed to provide an interim financing option which was presented by the SODC Board as a possible way to relieve some of the financial pressures that faced the Oceanfront development at that time.

“It was the responsibility of the SODC Board to bring any proposal of this type to Council for consideration,” says District of Squamish Acting Mayor Patricia Heintzman. “It was also justifiable for Council to reject it in favour of a more objective, inclusive and broad-reaching process.”

This information was not shared publicly as the proposal was unsolicited and rejected, and therefore did not get off the ground.

Two years later, Bethel partnered with international development company Matthews Southwest Developments (MSW) to respond to an open and public call for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), following an international marketing campaign. The campaign was conducted by esteemed real estate marketing firm Cushman & Wakefield to market the lands – and the sub area plan – to the international development community. Of the seven expressions of interest received from the open call, just two proposals met the evaluation criteria developed by the SODC Board, District of Squamish and their advisors. Both proposals had local connections.

Criteria included an evaluation of the following: willingness to adhere to the sub area plan; purchase price; the financial capability to follow through with the development; ability to begin construction as quickly as possible; demonstrated experience and capability in the development of major projects.

Both shortlisted developers had full access to all SODC documents, consultant reports and studies in order to complete the necessary due diligence prior to submitting full proposals. Throughout the RFEI process Council was informed of the number of proposals submitted and the general level of content, however in order to keep the process fair and unbiased, Council was not made aware of the names of any of the proponents until the presentation to Council on October 8, 2013.

“Council chose the proposal that presented the most comprehensive and financially appealing offer that also brings international development experience and new investment to Squamish,” says District of Squamish Acting Mayor Patricia Heintzman. “The MSW/Bethel proposal presents the best opportunity for Squamish to realize its vision of the Oceanfront Lands. MSW’s vast experience combined with Bethel’s local knowledge and experience is a powerful combination. Both partners have expressed a great deal of enthusiasm and energy for this project. We look forward to the negotiations ahead and to getting a deal signed!”

The negotiating team will be announced prior to the commencement of negotiations, scheduled to begin on November 13, 2013. A Frequently Asked Questions document will also be developed and shared on the District website to help respond to other questions raised in the community.

November 6, 2013

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