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A geographical investigation of development potential in the Squamish Valley region, British Columbia Stathers, Jack Kenneth

Abstract

During the past five years the Squamish valley has been the center of attention of a large amount of public interest. The extension of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway from the village of Squamish to Vancouver has been the cause of much of this public interest. The tremendous recreational potential of the beautifully scenic alpine country north of Squamish in Garibaldi Park has been brought most vividly to the fore. Partly as a result of this the provincial government began construction of a modern highway to the Squamish area, which in spite of much political debate, had hitherto been completely without a road connection of any kind. Principally because of road and rail being extended to Squamish, politicians, financiers and industrialists have expressed the opinion that the vast expanse of vacant land of the Squamish river delta could be developed for industrial purposes. Some people have even suggested that a great sea port could be developed with the rugged and scenic valley providing the land for associated community areas. This thesis is a study of the Squamish valley with respect to the probability of this development occurring. Insofar as industrial development as a sea port is concerned the extent to which the area can develop seems to depend largely on a matter of timing. Not by coincidence but because the port facilities of metropolitan Vancouver are rapidly becoming overtaxed, several proposals are being aired each of which seeks to develop further port facilities and land adjacent to Vancouver. Such land at Squamish would be competitive with that in these other proposed areas, but since Squamish is geographically separated from Vancouver it has some basic disadvantages. Conversely, however, due to the fact that the provincial government controls vast tracts of land at Squamish, port development on these lands may be fairly readily accomplished. Squamish seems destined to expand fairly rapidly regardless of its industrial future. Its rate and ultimate pattern of development, however, will largely be determined by the extent of industrialization. Since some form of growth is immediately eminent and particularly since the valley must be protected from flood-waters, regional development planning is direly needed. Because the prospects for industrial development are somewhat dependent on the nature of other local growth a regional plan is proposed which will ensure adequate industrial land at the waterfront.

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