A Sleepy Little Town No More!

This article was published in The Chief, March 27, 2014

"Squamish may soon be home to Western Canada's first indoor mountain bike training centre.

The facility would be a part of Vancouver-based development company Solterra's Squamish Business Park proposal, which also includes a climbing gym.

“We're building on the economic base that has already been here,” company vice president Mike Bosa told District of Squamish officials at Tuesday's (March 25) Committee of the Whole meeting.

The 20-acre business park project will focus on “rec-tech” industries, he said, with the climbing gym and bike skills facility as the anchors to build off of. The project, which is slated for the corner of Queens and Commercial ways, aims to create a cluster of industries involved in outdoor activities taking place in Squamish, Bosa said.

Downtown, Solterra is ramping up work on its residential development, Eaglewinds. The company is completing 16 townhouses near the Squamish Senior Centre on Third Avenue. This summer, it's also set to begin construction on Nature's Gate, a 50-townhome development north of the Rockcliff building along Eaglewind Boulevard.

Near the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Co. on Cleveland Avenue, Solterra has plans to create a temporary public market in the former PacWest building, Bosa said. The market would include seven permanent, five temporary and 21 semi-permanent storefronts. A playground would be built outside and a performance stage pitched in the main structure, Bosa said, noting the goal is to have it open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“It would provide people the opportunity to try something new,” he said, noting low rent would allow people to try out business ideas.

The indoor mountain bike facility, called District 99, would add to Squamish's trail system that's already putting the community on the map, proponent Scott Jewett said. Jewett, who works as a national event manager for the energy drink company Red Bull Canada, believes Squamish could become a hub for the sport.

District 99 would be a centre of excellence, with training facilities such as dirt tracks, wooden and rock obstacles, a foam pit and trampolines, he noted.

“This would be the first-ever facility in Canada that is purely focused on bikes,” Jewett said, noting the two indoor bike parks in eastern Canada include other activities, such as skateboarding.

Offices, housed in converted containers, would be placed within the building. They would be spaces for industries within the field, such as Red Bull's mountain bike video editing crew and designers of mountain bike equipment, Jewett said.

“Having industry involved with this facility would be key,” he said.

Across North America there's a growing interest in climbing gyms, proponent Lauren Watson said. Ground Up Climbing Centre will aim to fill Squamish's climbing education gap, providing reliable, year-round infrastructure for beginners and children's programming, she said.

“We will offer over 8,000 square feet of climbing terrain with 40-foot interior ceiling height,” Watson said.

The facility will include an elite bouldering and lead climbing terrain for experienced climbers. The centre will host year-round events such as movie and DJ nights, community meetings and friendly competitions, Watson said. It also plans to serve as the venue for national bouldering competitions.

“Squamish can be more than just the outdoor adventure capital of Canada,” Watson said. “It can be the climbing capital as well and Ground Up Climbing Centre is very excited to be a part of that legacy.”

- See more at: http://www.squamishchief.com/sports/local-sports/climbing-gym-indoor-bike-facility-in-the-works-1.931262#sthash.T7C8jHcB.dpuf

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Squamish Today:


The Squamish (or Sḵwxwú7mesh in the Squamish language) is the name of the aboriginal people who have inhabited this part of southwest BC (including North and West Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler, the areas surrounding the tributaries entering Howe Sound) since time immemorial. Squamish is the English pronunciation of Skwxwú7mesh, the traditionalautonym for the people. The name Keh Kait was the traditional name for the site of downtown Squamish.


The Skxwxu7mesh territory comprises 6,732 km2. The largest village of the Sḵwxwú7mesh in the Squamish area is Chiyakmesh, which is in the area of Brackendale and is the namesake of the Cheakamus River. Another main village is located near the south entrance of town, St'a7mes, which lies below the Stawamus Chief, which gets its name from that village. Though within municipal boundaries, residents of these Indian Reserves are not governed by the municipality but are members of the Squamish Nation. It also includes villages in North Vancouver and a number of other reserves at Gibsons and elsewhere in the general region.


What Makes Squamish Special:


Squamish is known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. Attractions include the Stawamus Chief, a huge cliff-faced granite massiffavoured by rock climbers. As well as over 300 climbing routes on the Chief proper, a majority of which require traditional climbing protection, there are steep hiking trails around the back to access the three peaks that make up the massif, all giving great views of Howe Sound and the surrounding Coast Mountains. In all, between Shannon FallsMurrin Park, The Malamute, and the Little Smoke Bluffs, there are well over 1200 rock-climbing routes in the Squamish area (and another 300 or so climbs north of Squamish on the road to Whistler). In recent years, Squamish has also become a major destination for bouldering, with over 2500 problems described in the local guidebook.


Another activity for which Squamish is well known is mountain biking, with over 600 trails suitable to all riders that can ride ultra-steep trails with huge gaps and steep rock surrounding the town. One of the more famous events supported by the Mountain Biking Community is the Test of Metal, a 67-kilometre, cross-country, mountain-bike race held annually in late June. Limited to 800 riders, the 2007 race sold out in under an hour.


Kiteboarding and windsurfing are popular water sports in Squamish during the summer. Predictable wind on warm sunny days makes theSquamish Spit the top kiteboarding location in western Canada.


Squamish's extensive quality trail system is a key feature of an annual 50 mile ultra trail run, the Arc'teryx Squamish 50. Solo runners and relay teams run on many of the same trails as the Test of Metal, and pass through Alice Lake Provincial Park and Quest University. "The Double" is an award offered annually to the participant with the fastest combined time for both the Test of Metal and Arc'teryx Squamish 50.


Other tourist attractions in Squamish include Shannon Falls waterfall; river-rafting on the Elaho and Squamish rivers; wind surfing and kite surfing at the mouth of the Squamish River; snowmobiling on nearby Brohm Ridge; and bald eagle viewing in the community of Brackendale, which has one of North America's largest populations of bald eagles. Squamish is also a popular destination among Greater Vancouver hikers, mountaineers and backcountry skiers, who visit the large provincial parks in the surrounding Coast Mountains.


For more information, please visit: Squamish Tourism

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