Squamish is renowned for its abundance of mountains, rivers and ocean providing some of the best outdoor activity options on the planet. Whether you fish, hike, bike, ski, climb or just enjoy beautiful views, it has exactly what you are looking for. More and more people are looking to Squamish as a place to call home and become part of the community. That is why Squamish is currently seeing rapid growth and development throughout the town.

Unfortunately many of the reasons people flock to Squamish are the same reasons that make it a difficult area to develop. Being a valley at the mouth of the Howe Sound with multiple large rivers passing through it, numerous floods have occurred in the area resulting in property and infrastructure damage. As recent as 2003, Squamish experienced large scale flooding that damaged railways, highways and property. Many homes in certain areas had to be evacuated as river levels rose.

That is why the district of Squamish put together Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan (IFHMP). The plan was put together as legislation for achievable solutions to develop throughout the Squamish area without creating risk to its inhabitants and minimize damage in the case of flooding. While many of the proposed strategies in the plan are improvements to infrastructure throughout the community including improvements to river dikes and encouraging growth in low risk areas, expect to be responsible for some of the hazard management as a home owner planning to build or renovate.

Be sure to speak with a qualified builder who has an understanding of the IFHMP before you buy any property where you plan to build or renovate so you fully understand some of the restrictions and guidelines you must adhere to. With the flood control levels increased through the town, you may be required to raise the living space of your home significantly higher than your neighbours’ houses that were built before the regulations. This can change the vision you may have for your build and increase costs dramatically.

With all that being said, the district of Squamish’s wishes to see the town grow and amass to its true potential. These improvements and guidelines in the IFHMP were not meant to constrain development in the area but ensure that the community grows safely and sustainably, into the world class municipality that it is destined to be.

If you do have questions regarding the IFHMP and how it may pertain to your plans for building or renovating in Squamish, please feel free to contact us at Alair and we will be happy to assist in any way we can.