Update on the District Lots 509 and 510 (Cheema Lands)

The SORCA Exec has received a number of queries from members and other trail users about the status of the Cheema lands. We provide all trail users with a quick update on:

  • The current status of trail access on the Cheema Lands;
  • The gate opening at the top of Perth Drive with regard to emergency vehicle access;
  • The Cheema’s trail reserve proposal; and
  • SORCA’s message to Garibaldi Highlands trail users

Current status of trail access on DL 509 and 510

The Cheemas continue to graciously allow recreational trail users to access their lands including to our maintenance crew and all trail running and mountain biking events for 2019. SORCA is grateful for the continued access as we work through the development process.

Search and Rescue (SAR) access at the top of Perth Drive

Squamish SAR recently requested that the Cheemas reconsider the configuration of the fence at the top of Perth Drive to allow for emergency vehicle access. Such access would allow emergency vehicles to access the upper reaches of the Mashiter Trail and the exits of various trails along its route.

State of the Cheema’s trail reserve proposal

As a means to protect current and future access to this important trail area SORCA and the Cheemas entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in March of 2018. The purpose of the MOU was to develop a vision for District Lots 509 and 510 that would have trails and greenspace at the forefront of their future development in the area.

Throughout 2018 the Cheemas undertook significant work to develop a trail reserve plan. They retained planners to assist with the development of trail reserve plan. These planners worked closely with SORCA to define the reserve boundaries. The results of that work were presented by the Cheemas and their planners during two open houses and a proposed  trail reserve map was posted during the second open house in August of 2018.

SORCA is committed to working with the Cheema family and the DoS to establish an extraordinary community benefit in which the trail reserve will be included as a community amenity contribution as a condition of DoS approval to rezone DL 509 and 510 for development.

As a matter of policy SORCA does not endorse development projects. However, SORCA will signal to DoS that the concerns of trail users have been addressed once the community of Squamish at large has some certainty that the trail reserve as proposed will be established.

SORCA’s message to all Garibaldi Highlands trail users

The Cheemas have repeatedly stated their commitment to ensuring a bright future for trail use in Garibaldi Highlands. If realized the Garibaldi Highlands trail reserve will undoubtedly confer great value to trail users today and tomorrow.

SORCA remains highly encouraged by the ongoing willingness of the Cheemas to collaborate with SORCA and the community of Squamish. As we all know development can be a highly charged and complex issue. Having the ability to have an open dialog and common vision with the land owner has made getting to where we are a lot less contentious and a lot more productive that it might have been otherwise.

A lot remains to be done. SORCA will continue to keep all trail users informed of developments on DL 509 and 510 as they occur.

Now get out there on the trails!