This article was published in The Chief on April 2, 2014.
"The world’s top source of mountain bike news is moving to town. And the company’s chief executive officer hopes it’s just the start of a migration that could shape Squamish’s future.
By the end of the year, Pinkbike.com plans to transfer its head office from Chilliwack to Squamish. The international website showcases more than 10 million photos, 400,000 videos and an endless array of equipment for sale. It boasts the greatest amount of mountain bike content on the Internet, with approximately 120 million page views per month.
In three years, the company has grown from four staff to 15, with the core group relocating to Squamish, Karl Burkat said.
“We are constantly growing,” he said.
The company has eyed Squamish for some time, Burkat said. Squamish has an amazing trail system and is close to Whistler’s and the North Shore’s bike networks, he noted, adding that in 2015, the Sea to Sky Gondola is set to open up new mountain biking terrain.
The proposed indoor mountain bike park in Solterra’s 20-acre project at the Squamish Business Park is another anchor for business, Burkat added.
Squamish is setting itself up to seize recreation technology industries, he noted. Securing the first cluster of businesses might be tricky, but once they’re in place, the rest will follow, Burkat said.
“Hopefully we can work to attract more businesses,” he said.
While California has Silicon Valley, the closest thing to a rec-tech hub is Vancouver, Burkat said. Squamish officials need to focus on smaller brands starting out, rather than established companies, he said, noting logistically it is more difficult for the big-name companies to move.
This week, the proponent of Squamish’s proposed indoor mountain bike centre was sitting down with some potentially “big” partners.
“If we get the right parties [involved] we could get building this summer,” said Scott Jewett, District 99 founder.
The facility would have a little bit of everything, from tracks for young children with push-bikes to a foam pit for jumping practice. It will host camp programs, targeting Whistler and North Vancouver, Jewett said.
Within the facility, Jewett plans to have four converted container offices that would provide field spaces for potential partners. Those companies could also offer programs that use the bike centre and the adjoining space for product launches, he said. Jewett is currently negotiating with a bike component business, an apparel company and a shuttle service.
“There could be athlete programs to test new products,” Jewett said.
Squamish is building on its rec-tech base, said Lauren Watson, who plans to open a climbing gym in Squamish in the fall of 2015. A few North American communities of a similar size have successful climbing gyms, she noted. Canada is playing catch-up when it comes to such facilities, Watson said.
“The sport is growing rapidly,” she said. “Over 1,000 people in the [United] States start climbing every year.”
Watson and her partners are currently in talks with a climbing equipment manufacturer. If successful, the company would relocate to Squamish and use the gym as a part of its research and development.
“We need to be appealing as a place to live,” Watson said. “Right now there is very few things to do after 6 p.m.”
While all of the plans are quite preliminary, the businesses could become drivers in Squamish’s economy, District of Squamish Coun. Ron Sander said. Solterra’s proposal, on the corner of Queens and Commercial ways, will require a zoning amendment. Council will look at the project holistically, he said. The area is designated for “employment lands,” so officials will examine the job numbers proposed uses provide, he said.
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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