The FMCBC continues to hold these lands in trust for the climbing community. We are continuing discussions with the District of Squamish regarding transfer of these lands for incorporation into a park, but only if an agreement can be reached which would see these lands protected in perpetuity. The District of Squamish has granted a yearly permissive property tax exemption to the FMCBC since 2009 which allows the FMCBC to continue to hold these lands at no cost to our organization.
December 2012 Update on District of Squamish Proposal
In August 2012, the FMCBC received a proposal from District of Squamish for transfer of the FMCBC lands to the District for the purpose of incorporating the lands into the Smoke Bluffs Park. Under the proposal, the FMCBC lands would be transferred to the District on certain conditions. If the District fails to meet those conditions, the FMC could exercise an option to re-purchase the lands for $1. Discussions are ongoing regarding the proposal. The conditions triggering the option to purchase are critical, as well as the term of the option to purchase. The FMCBC lands are held in trust by the FMCBC for the climbing community. The lands were purchased in the mid 1980s when the climbing crags were threatened by development. The lands were purchased to ensure climbing in and access to the Smoke Bluffs for climbing is preserved in perpetuity. Prior to the FMCBC Board making any decision with respect to the proposal, the FMCBC clubs and the climbing community will be consulted and legal advice sought on the advisability of the proposal.
In 1987 the FMCBC purchased property adjacent to the Smoke Bluffs climbing area in Squamish. This unprecedented move by the FMCBC helped preserve access to the climbing bluffs and saved the area from encroaching housing development. Since this time the FMCBC has been working towards the creation of a Smoke Bluffs Park in this area. Federation members built trails around Smoke Bluffs.
The FMCBC continues to work with the Squamish Access Society to ensure climbers’ access to and climbing activities in the Smoke Bluffs is protected in perpetuity. Squamish District Council will no longer consider a conservation covenant on the FMCBC lands and District lands which comprise the climbing crags. This is disappointing, given the amount of time and effort expended on the covenant after Council agreed in principle to the concept.
Efforts are now focused on having the Smoke Bluffs formally designated a park through a municipal park designation by-law. Whether the FMCBC lands will be transferred to the District of Squamish will depend on how secure the climbing community feels with the park designation by-law. Other options are also being considered. While the FMCBC lands do not include the climbing crags, the FMCBC lands do provide access. The FMCBC lands are also valuable to the District of Squamish because they are appropriate for general use purposes, such as hiking trails, picnic tables, potential campsites and viewing area. Negotiations are ongoing.