UBC-led community design workshop highlights need to restore history of Britannia Beach

A UBC-led design workshop held in Britannia Beach this week
has highlighted the need to recover the old mining town’s
history in order to restore a sense of community.

UBC’s Centre for Landscape Research brought the town’s
three property owners together with more than 30 other stakeholders
at the site for an intensive multi-day workshop that concluded
Thursday night. During the process — called a charrette —
stakeholders worked with a team of landscape architects, architects
and UBC planning experts to develop a detailed design for
the community.

The goal of the charrette was to produce a collectively
generated design for the area that will turn Britannia Beach
from Canada’s worst mining pollution tragedy into a
sustainable, affordable community, says Prof. Patrick Condon,
the James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments
and lead organizer of the workshop.

“The community development issues here are complex,”
says Condon. “The charrette was the impetus to getting
the right people in one room to come up with a solution that
the community owned. And we did just that.”

The key ideas generated in the charrette include:

  • Developing sustainable communities north and south, making
    use of the current town grid, and central commercial area
  • Retaining and promoting the community’s rich history
  • Shifting the alignment of Hwy 99 to accommodate a slower,
    pedestrian-friendly environment; using signals for main
  • Connecting the community with transit and rail, pedestrian
    and bike-focus
  • Tying in flood management methods with positive community
  • Saving or relocating all/most existing historic buildings
    and ensuring main mill building will be pre-eminent structure
  • Assuring residents that their land parcels would be accounted
    for in development plans

In addition to UBC and the three property owners, other
charrette participants included the B.C. Museum of Mining,
Natural Resources Canada, the District of Squamish, the Squamish-Lillooet
Regional District, Ministry of Transportation and Highways,
Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management, Ministry of Community,
Aboriginal and Women’s Services, community representatives,
and residents of Britannia Beach.