Block 7 (46.64 acres), in the territory of the Squamish First Nation, has an immense history. Private owners for 120 years allowed extensive use of the land by the public. A man named Mr. Messenger passed away in 1979, sending the property on the long and winding road of different owners and attempts to develop it.
In the early 1980s, grassroots citizens identified the need to preserve this unique, majestic, rare land for common use. Hundreds of volunteers spent endless hours working toward the purchase, but there was never the political will or the will of the ‘movers and shakers’ to help. The Gospel Rock Neighbourhood Plan was passed in 2012 despite a huge public plea against the neighbourhood and development of Block 7.
A few years ago, an investor with seemingly deep pockets bought Block 7, and the plan was to build a large development and include a trendy commercial village. This extreme addition brought almost no comments because attention was focused on the percentage of property being donated as a conservation area. Our understanding is that much of that area was unbuildable anyway.
The areas of threatened dryland coastal forest were not protected by the Town by their exclusion from some conservation area. Part of the dryland forest has now been logged, and the public is furious about the lack of care by council and staff. A stop-work order is in place at this time. There are also reports of other problems, including incorrect fill being brought in that now must be replaced and questions about funds and contractors.
“Back to Nature – Returning to What’s Real” is the developer’s slogan. We say there is still time to bring this land back to nature in the form of a public park. Everything is for sale for the right price! Miracles happen all the time. Let’s be creative as a community and acquire the funds to save this gem for the ultimate benefit of humans, flora, fauna, and Earth!
N. Gaudry & L. Macklam,