Canadian wave pool project gets the greenlight after six years

All systems are go for South Britannia, British Columbia—the wave pool project, associated sports facilities, and 1,000 houses have been approved in their entirety. The master plan for South Britannia, almost midway between Vancouver and Whistler, passed its third and final reading.

“We had to convince them (local politicians) that it was a good idea because it was such a new idea,” said Tony Petricevic, Head of Development. “On top of that, the housing, the highway, complications with the site (a former over-mined gravel quarry), the adjacent railway, engineering, water, and debris flow and all that sort of stuff took a long time (almost six years). So it’s been a journey, but we’re through it.”

Situated along the route called the Sea to Sky corridor, South Britannia will be at the heart of an area full of sports enthusiasts. Tony regards the area as a melting hub of adrenaline addicts and adventurers. Along with developing surf training facilities with input from Surf Canada, Tony’s team has consulted with skateboard and mountain bike communities to include numerous ramps for skaters, usable year-round, a pump track, and multiple mountain bike trails. And to keep the adrenaline flowing further and higher, there will also be rock climbing and bouldering facilities.

tiger bay wave pool british columbia
The proposed surf park sits on a former quarry site. Developers are banking on British Columbia’s love of action sports and the great outdoors.

But on to the liquid heart of the project—the wave pool will use Wavegarden technology. How many chambers the pool uses (the number determines the length of the pool’s surfable wave) has yet to be finalized.

“We’re bouncing around the extra cost for taking up to 50-something, even though it’s a standard-sized pool. We’ll confirm that in the next six months,” said Tony.

For reference, other Wavegarden pools, such as URBNSURF in Melbourne and Alaia Bay, have 46 chambers, while Wave Park in Seoul has 56.

South Britannia’s wave pool is set to be operational by 2027 and will be open to all.

“100% for sure, it won’t be a closed gated community with private access to the surf park,” said Tony. “Whether or not we include some form of membership with the residential properties, we’ve not decided yet. We’ve got a bit of time to figure that out because the residential doesn’t come along till phase two.”

Phase one will include the wave pool, surf center, skate park, pump track, biking trails, and some surf cabins. Phase two will see residences, along with some commercial and community buildings. Tony also notes that the homes offered for sale are set to reflect current property prices in the Squamish area. These facilities are predicted to generate 400-600 jobs for the area, which was a critical factor in the approval.

This year will be filled with architectural and engineering projects for Tony and his team, with groundbreaking for construction planned for the spring of 2025.