A long-awaited dedicated forestry centre that would educate people on the importance and history of forestry to Squamish’s history is a step closer to becoming a reality.

Members of the Sea to Sky Forestry Centre Society presented their plan for the facility slated for south of the Squamish Adventure Centre at the committee of the whole on March 15. After the presentation, council granted the society a letter of support for continuing with the project.  

“I think it is fantastic,” said Councillor Ted Prior. 

The concept is to construct a 11,000-square-foot multi-storey, timber-frame building that would feature artifacts and host a variety of educational programming.

“The overriding objective is to feature the latest and greatest in wood design and wood technology,” said Eric Andersen, a member of the society. 

An exhibition space in the centre will feature new forestry technologies and in the back of the building will be a kitchen and outdoor patio area for hosting events, said the society’s Ken Pickering.

Andersen said in order to sustain itself, the centre will have to be multipurpose, incorporating a space available for events and meetings. 

The centre has been a long time coming. A business plan for it was drawn up in 2007. 

In spring of 2014, the district promised to lease the property adjacent to the Squamish Adventure Centre to the society, according to municipal real estate manager Neil Plumb. Log Book Park and logging artifacts are already in place around the Adventure Centre in anticipation of the new forestry centre.

Originally, the society was given until March 2017 to complete a site layout, business plan and architectural drafts of the centre. 

Next steps include the society making a development plan, drafting a fresh business plan and firming up the land lease with the district. The project will then come back before council for approval. 

In the meantime, the society will be undertaking a fundraising drive, according to Pickering.