The peninsula has undergone massive remediation efforts that leave the majority of the site ready for use by the public. The Squamish Oceanfront has a combination of ongoing treatment and monitoring for previously remediated sites and future remediation requirements to address outstanding contamination issues. These issues have been studied extensively and will continue to play an important role in future work.
Previous planning exercises and community input have consistently stressed that development of the Oceanfront must be a model of sustainability, addressing economic, social and environmental dimensions in a genuine and meaningful way. If it is to make a genuine contribution towards sustainability, the Oceanfront plan and project must make progress in addressing key global and local challenges, including:
- Protect, Enhance and Rehabilitate Natural Ecosystems – The Oceanfront development will focus on protecting, enhancing and rehabilitating ecological features for people, animals and marine life, and plants.
- Foster Economic Development – The Oceanfront development will work to achieve the community driven goal of job creation at the Oceanfront important for community sustainability.
- Aim for reduced Energy use and reduced GHG– The Oceanfront will endorse and support development plans for the District of Squamish Community Energy Action Plan. Support the District's OCP and Downtown Transportation Plan by designing a community that prioritizes walking, cycling, transit and water-based transportation options over private single occupant vehicles.
- Build Green Infrastructure and Green Development – The Oceanfront will adopt responsible development principles for building and neighborhood development. The Oceanfront will support “naturalized” storm water management and reduce potable water consumption through the use of low-flow technologies. The Oceanfront will target "zero waste" and ensure SODC's waste management strategies are aligned with the policy recommendations of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's (SLRD) Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP).
- Focus on public open spaces and parks for community cohesion – Support a network of new and existing green spaces that are linked together through the Oceanfront and support ecological and diverse social functions. Honour the culture and heritage of Squamish through vistas, public art, recreational opportunities and park infrastructure
- Be sustainably focused on Land Use, Density & Site Layout – The Oceanfront will adhere to Smart Growth on the Ground Principles for mixed-use community design including criteria for neighborhood pattern and design.
- Be accountable to the Community – The Oceanfront will create a dashboard of measurable indicators that allow the community to understand how the Oceanfront is doing against its sustainability targets
Engineering studies conducted on the site resulted in a recommendation to provide a habitable flood level of 4.2 meters. This has been factored into the planning and budgeting. To maintain a more natural and accessible water interface the plan contemplates lower elevations for some of the parks and oceanfront trails.
The habitat planning concept for Squamish Oceanfront Development is based on an “eco restorative solutions” approach that will help create new habitable space for future generations of people, plants and animals. On top of preservation of the wetland area, the concept is based on low-tech solutions for managing challenging issues such as storm water, urban living and integrating nature back into the community. Natural water interface, bioswales, native restoration/habitat enhancement and native urban agriculture will be weaved throughout the development and brought to the forefront to create new habitat. t.