Budget 2022

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Let's talk budget 2022


The District of Squamish is seeking community input on the draft Five-Year Financial Plan for 2022 to 2026.

The plan proposes a property tax revenue requirement increase of 4.07% in 2022 to fund projects and services required to meet the growth pressures, facility renewal and demand for services that Squamish currently faces. Although the BC Assessment property assessment value notices are not yet available, and Council has not set the property tax rates, it is expected that the average residential property tax increase will be approximately $91.

We invite you to get involved. Ask a question, participate in a discussion forum, join Council for a coffee, or use the links provided here to learn more about the budgeting process.

The budget impacts all of us, every day. Let's talk about it.

View comments from the community and a summary of public engagement here

Explore the Budget with our Interactive Tool (click here)


The District of Squamish is seeking community input on the draft Five-Year Financial Plan for 2022 to 2026.

The plan proposes a property tax revenue requirement increase of 4.07% in 2022 to fund projects and services required to meet the growth pressures, facility renewal and demand for services that Squamish currently faces. Although the BC Assessment property assessment value notices are not yet available, and Council has not set the property tax rates, it is expected that the average residential property tax increase will be approximately $91.

We invite you to get involved. Ask a question, participate in a discussion forum, join Council for a coffee, or use the links provided here to learn more about the budgeting process.

The budget impacts all of us, every day. Let's talk about it.

View comments from the community and a summary of public engagement here

Explore the Budget with our Interactive Tool (click here)

Have a Question? Ask us here.

Do you have a question about the budget? Please ask us here.

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    Hi, Thank you for putting all of this information online. I've been reading the plans for the dike budget and concept of changing the alignment of the dike in Brackendale. I have a few questions: 1. The cost of upgrading the existing dike versus building an entire new dike seems magnitudes higher (10x). Why would this be preferred? 2. Filling in habitat and reducing the river conveyance will only increase the velocity and make a tough angle of the Squamish into the dike at Dryden creek pump station? Why would this be preferred? 3. Wouldn't it be a higher priority to ensure we have pumps stations that meet the 1:200 capacity requirement, include redundancy and backup power to mitigate the community flood risk? With the power being overhead on Government, Depot and Judd Rd only, at what level of surface flooding will BC hydro shut down the power due to the balance of Brackendale underground with transformers at street level? The premium paid for building a whole new dike instead of upgrading existing would likely cover this cost, has that been considered? 4. The dike alignment further out in the river, if the river gets behind it, doesn't that significantly increase the risk to existing properties? Especially because its higher than the existing? 5. I am unable to see the benefit of this alignment and hoping you can shed light for me. 6. Was restoring the original channel of the Squamish river further to the west of the valley considered as an option to reduce the angles/pressure on the existing dike? I fully support the capital investment in flood protection for this community in all neighborhoods. Thank you Matt

    MattSimmons asked 14 days ago

    Hi there, thank you for reaching out. The District’s Engineering team has provided some answers to your questions below.

    1. The cost of upgrading the existing dike versus building an entire new dike seems magnitudes higher (10x). Why would this be preferred? 

    Costs estimates for dike upgrades were provided by Kerr Wood Leidal. They can be found in Table 4-11 of the Dike Master Plan. The cost estimates were $106 million to raise the dike on its existing alignment compared to $114 million to re-align the dike at the Siyich’em Reserve. Given the scale of costs and the relatively small difference between the options, cost was not considered a significant distinguishing factor between the options. 

    2. Filling in habitat and reducing the river conveyance will only increase the velocity and make a tough angle of the Squamish into the dike at Dryden creek pump station? Why would this be preferred? 

    With respect to habitat, the intent is that the area will remain connected with the river via a new fish-friendly pump station. This will be located at the outlet of Jimmy Jimmy (Judd) Slough into the Squamish River. The Dike Master Plan included a Baseline Habitat Review and also identified that further work is required to assess environmental impacts and impacts on river velocity. A key consideration in terms of why the new dike alignment was preferred by District and Squamish Nation Councils is the current lack of land tenure for the dike on Siyich’em Reserve as well as opportunities to restore lost reserve land.

    3. Wouldn't it be a higher priority to ensure we have pumps stations that meet the 1:200 capacity requirement, include redundancy and backup power to mitigate the community flood risk? With the power being overhead on Government, Depot and Judd Rd only, at what level of surface flooding will BC hydro shut down the power due to the balance of Brackendale underground with transformers at street level? The premium paid for building a whole new dike instead of upgrading existing would likely cover this cost, has that been considered? 

    As mentioned, the cost of a new dike alignment is estimated to be around 5-10% more costly. It is not a significant distinguishing factor between the options. However, ensuring that pump stations meet capacity requirements (1:100 year return period is the standard for major stormwater infrastructure) is a high priority for the District. 

    The District has invested significantly in pump station improvements over the past decade, however, we recognize that further work is required. This has been identified in the District’s Integrated Stormwater Management Plans and the Development Cost Charges bylaw.

    Once water reaches the level of BC Hydro transformers, we anticipate that power would be impacted. 

    4. The dike alignment further out in the river, if the river gets behind it, doesn't that significantly increase the risk to existing properties? Especially because its higher than the existing? 

    Kerr Wood Leidal evaluated impacts on the Squamish River profile associated with re-aligning the dike. Their review concluded that there would be a small increase in the Squamish River level as a result of the new dike alignment (0.3m increase along the dike alignment, tapering down to negligible impact by 2 kilometres upstream). As such, in the event of a dike breach, this could result in a small impact on internal flood levels. 

    However, currently, the dike is noted to have significant deficiencies in this area which poses a significant risk. Remediating it with a properly constructed dike that meets Provincial standards along the Eagle Viewing Area and Siyich’em Reserve will significantly reduce the probability of experiencing a dike and overall community breach.

    5. I am unable to see the benefit of this alignment and hoping you can shed light for me.

    The Siyich’em Reserve has been reduced in size by more than 85% due to river erosion. A key consideration is the need for Squamish Nation support to upgrade the dike which currently has no formal tenure through historic reserve land. The chosen option creates opportunities for partial restoration of lost reserve land, and meets the flood protection objectives identified in the District’s Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan.

    6. Was restoring the original channel of the Squamish river further to the west of the valley considered as an option to reduce the angles/pressure on the existing dike?

    Yes, it was considered. However, the Dike Master Plan concluded that restoration of the former active channel on the west side of the Squamish River would not alleviate dike upgrade requirements for the existing dike as the former channel would likely be activated in a major flood under present conditions regardless. Re-activating the former river channel has been identified as an area for further study in the future.

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    Are we asking developers to pitch in on our infrastructure and amenities? It appears we are far behind on both, but construction is booming. Please elaborate.

    Chooper asked 26 days ago

    Thank you for reaching out with this question. Developers contribute to infrastructure for our community by paying development cost charges (DCCs). They also pay to construct any and all new infrastructure needed to serve their particular development. DCC’s are monies collected from developers to offset costs of new infrastructure related to growth.  

    DCCs are legislated by the Province through the Local Government Act. The idea of the legislation is that growth pays for growth and it helps communities offset these costs. 

    There are very specific items that DCCs can fund – these include capital upgrades to infrastructure (roads, water, sewer and drainage) required for growth, as well as parkland acquisition and park development costs. There is a set formula to ensure that communities can recover the costs of infrastructure needed to support growth, as well as ensure a fair, consistent and transparent process. The current DCC bylaw is available for public review here. This bylaw was updated in 2020, and is currently under review.

    The community can view the proposed budget projects for 2022 -26 to see which projects are funded by DCCs. For example, the Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade is budgeted at $10.2M and a new water reservoir is budgeted at $4M. Both are projects paid for by DCCs. You can explore the budget via this tool: https://letstalksquamish.ca/budget-2022-interactive-tool

    In terms of “being behind,” the District has master plans for all of our infrastructure, which look at upgrades and improvements and what is required to maintain and extend all these services. None of these master plans indicate that we are significantly “lagging” or “behind.”

    In terms of other amenities, the District has a Community Amenity Contribution Policy which guides how developers contribute amenities, and outlines the District’s expectations of developers' contributions that are negotiated as part of amendments proposed to the Zoning Bylaw by developers. CACs are intended to address the additional demands beyond DCCs that result from new development proposals and try to ensure that “growth pays for growth.” These are only allowed to be collected as part of applications for rezoning amendments.

    Amenity contribution targets currently prioritize affordable housing. An example of this is that (in 2020) 55 affordable housing units were secured at issuance of the Waterfront Landing development permit. Eight units were secured in Garibaldi Springs, and two units secured in The Wilfred. When built, these units will be rented through a Housing Society that will be formed to oversee this inventory. 

    The current CAC Policy is available for public review here

    Council is currently discussing the formation of the Housing Society (see Nov 9 Report to Council).

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    The OCP says the DOS will “Work with the School District to plan school sites to accommodate new neighbourhoods and growing areas. “ I am assuming the School District is SD 48. Does the DOS also work with SD 93? And if so, what is the plan to accommodate the new school needed for SD 93? A school that has approved funding but requires space. As per the OCP, the DOS is supportive of and expecting a population of 34,000 by 2040, what is the plan for the schools to support this population boom? What land has been marked for this purpose?

    Concerned Resident of Garibaldi Estates East asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for reaching out, we appreciate the question and comment. In reviewing the language in the OCP, it references a singular school district, as you point out. SD48 was recognized as the main district with major school facilities. We will amend and improve our policy language in the future to reflect the multiple school districts in our community.

    We have answered a similar question below regarding land for SD93, and the same answer would apply here too. 

    Needs and lands for future schools within both local school districts would be identified through joint planning, however acquisition of a parcel of land would fall to the responsibility of the school boards. This joint planning is an important part of the neighbourhood planning process, and the District is preparing to engage the school boards – SD48 and SD93 – as land use plans are being developed (i.e. through the current Garibaldi Estates neighbourhood plan).

    School boards and the Ministry of Education are responsible for provision of public schools and school site evaluation, acquisition and development. School site planning ultimately involves and requires joint planning with the municipality. School sites can be acquired and designated through subdivision, so the District plays a role in land in this respect.

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    Where in the budget or OCP is their consideration for Ecole Les Aiglons or SD93? Why has it been omitted from both documents?

    Djoseph asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for this question. OCP policies for community educational facilities (OCP Section 15.3) focus on consultations to plan for and meet anticipated needs for facilities and support services for the future. The adopted language in the OCP references a singular school district, which is misleading. The District acknowledges both public and private independent schools and educational institutions that are operating, and we will improve this policy language in the future to reflect the multiple school districts and educational institutions in our community.

    (During the OCP engagement we made efforts to reach out to all local schools - both public and independent ones. Our stakeholder plan reflected the fact that we have multiple schools in town including the Francophone school, Montessori, Waldorf, and beyond).

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    I am wondering where things are at in finding an appropriate piece of land to build the new French school for District 93?

    bliseanne asked about 1 month ago

    Hi there, and thanks for the question. Needs and lands for future schools within both local school districts would be identified through joint planning, however acquisition of a parcel of land would fall to the responsibility of the school boards. This joint planning is an important part of the neighbourhood planning process, and the District is preparing to engage the school boards – SD48 and SD93 – as land use plans are being developed (i.e. through the current Garibaldi Estates neighbourhood plan).

    School boards and the Ministry of Education are responsible for provision of public schools and school site evaluation, acquisition and development. School site planning ultimately involves and requires joint planning with the municipality. School sites can be acquired and designated through subdivision, so the District plays a role in land in this respect.

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    Hi there, A couple of questions: 1. When will the fire exit at Brennan Park be fixed? Its crazy to see so many people watch games this weekend shoulder to should watching from one end of the rink. 2. What's the status of a second rink? 3. What upgrade is the library looking at? Thanks in advance, Elliot Moses

    Elliot Moses asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for these questions, Elliot. In terms of the fire exit at Brennan Park, work is underway and we anticipate the emergency exit stairs will be operational by mid-November. 

    Re: a second rink. This project is included in the District’s Real Estate and Facilities Master Plan, however, there are several critical projects that take priority. In 2018 the District completed a Real Estate and Facility Strategy to ensure it has the appropriate facilities (buildings/structures) to provide the services required by the community over the next 25 years. During this process, it was determined that many of the District’s facilities that provide these services are at end of life (between 25 and 52 years old).

    Over decades, a lack of financial planning for the eventual replacement of these facilities, compounded by the recent rapid growth in the community, has left the District today with a significant challenge to fund all of the facility and infrastructure needs. (Read the backgrounder for more info: How we got here). Future facility investment is estimated to require investment of $150M + (in 2020 dollars), though we do anticipate that a rink is an excellent candidate for grant funding.  

    The District is planning upgrades to Brennan Park Recreation Centre (BPRC) in the current 5-Year Financial Plan, though a second sheet of ice is still a future phase – yet to be scheduled. There is more information contained within this FAQ.  

    Similarly, the Library requires updates and expansion to meet the needs of our growing community. Exactly what that looks like has not yet been determined. It is also considered a future project and is also anticipated that grant funding could be available. This is all the information we have at the moment, though the community can anticipate much more conversation in the future prior to this project being defined and included in a future 5-Year Financial Plan.   

     

Page last updated: 30 November 2021, 12:56