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Model for Future: Park, Paths, School, Community

Mixed residential site will include Montessori school, green space

For Diamond Head Development founder and general manager Jason Wood, the new Skyridge development at the end of Dowad Drive is really more than a regular real estate development.

Last week, the District of Squamish approved Diamond Head’s development permit application to go ahead with the remaining phases of the mixed-used hillside residential neighbourhood. The permit will pave the way for construction and sales of the project.

“The vision for the site was about building a community,” he said. “Part of that community is we’re going to have a school on site.”

The project includes plans for a new Montessori school, as negotiations with the school are nearing completion. The site will also include a daycare.

Another feature will be retaining the environmental features of the area. There will be dedicated park space, trail and a bike path that connects to the popular “Jack’s Trail” nearby.

The site also overlooks the valley and has views of the Stawamus Chief and the Tantalus Range.

“The scenery and setting here are simply amazing and I don’t know of a better located site or range of options,” Sutton West Coast Realty sales manager Jennifer Sale said in a news release.

Single-family homes near the entrance will bridge the gap with the Rockridge homes below. This first phase of 30 lots sold out last October.

“The view up here is unbelievable,” Wood said. “One side of our site is all views and the back side is all forest and nature.”

He adds the site was one of the last pieces of property of the Dowad family and was entrusted to Diamond Head.

The other phases will include 26 townhomes, 20 half-duplexes and a condominium building with 44 Skysuites. For the latter, the initial design was to split the units into three buildings, but Wood said it ultimately made more sense to include them in one building.

However, the building will not be designed as a block but rather as two wings with a courtyard.

The Skysuites, he adds, were not originally part of the plans, but Wood and his colleagues realized there was growing demand in the community from new retirees looking to sell single-family homes and move into something smaller with less upkeep. There will be six different floor plans for the units.

The next phase will go on sale next month. This will include the townhouse and duplexes, with the condominiums to go on sale at a later date.

Wood credits the District of Squamish for making the processes, which included subdividing seven pieces of land, rezoning and the development permit application, among other things, as streamlined and quick as possible.

“They’ve been amazing to work with,” he said. “They’ve embraced the process.”

He also thinks the kind of community he and Diamond Head are planning will become a kind of template for future growth in Squamish.

“I think you’ll see this type of development as a model going forward,” he said.

PHOTO: Diamond Head Development founder and general manager Jason Wood, taking in the views from the site of his upcoming Skyridge development. Photo submitted by Mike Chouinard.

@ Copyright 2016 Squamish Chief