We are very privileged in Squamish to have so many fine candidates for Mayor in this election. I am pleased to say that I could support any one of them. They all bring dedication, experience, and competencies to the table.
However, myself, and everyone else, only get to choose one. For the next four years, if I am elected, the people of Squamish will know how I vote on issues that are important to them for this community. Although it would be safer not to publicly choose, I feel at this time, I would like to let you know who I am endorsing for Mayor and why.
However, I want to first outline sincerely the great things each candidate brings to this race and is offering Squamish. Things they genuinely feel are in the best interests of our community.
Paul Lalli, born and raised in Squamish has a beautiful, large, young family who are front and centre in his campaign. His platform, as such, is focused on families with emphasis on recreational amenities such as swimming lessons. He also backs and believes a large four season resort is in the best interests of Squamish for job creation and future growth. He has experience on council for 10 years, but not in the immediate past. Squamish was built on large capital projects such as the deep water port and other industrial interests. I believe Paul Lalli wants what is best for Squamish through supporting family programming, and bringing large capital projects to town. I recognize that focusing on families and big commercial projects are traditionally what Squamish voters look for in a Mayor like Paul Lalli.
Jeff Cooke, is an entrepreneur and avid outdoorsman, with local non-governmental board experience, and a business focus. Jeff’s dedication to the trails and outdoor areas of Squamish shows a true love of all that Squamish has to offer. His experience as a businessman would bring an understanding of many of the challenges facing small business and larger commercial ventures in Squamish. I believe Jeff Cooke’s business based leadership would help encourage economic growth for Squamish, while partnering with recreational interests to manage the many pressures on our outdoor tourism industry. I recognize that is why a lot of people have moved here and that is what they want from Jeff Cooke as their Mayor.
Karen Elliot, with experience on the current council, has shown she has a measured approach to decision making. She has an understanding of the issues facing Squamish, such as policy needs for short term rentals, daycare, and the Official Community Plan. Karen will be able to competently deal with any issues that come before council. I believe that Karen is a steady hand at the tiller, and in touting the current council’s numerous accomplishments, would continue to move Squamish in the direction it is heading. I recognize that many people, especially in steadier times, prefer a measured hand for their choice of Mayor who is Karen Elliot.
I have carefully considered all of these great choices for Mayor, have attended numerous council meetings, where two of them currently participate and vote, have listened intently to all their positions at the three stakeholder forums, and have reviewed their answers, as well as their platforms, and their websites. I have come to this decision based on what the candidates have campaigned on and emphasized in their records, their levels of experience, qualifications and platform. I am happy to work with any of them and confidently believe they will all put forward the best interest of Squamish as they see it.
But I must choose one and I have. I am endorsing Susan Chapelle for Mayor.
Susan Chapelle (cv),is a two-term Squamish Councillor for the past 7 years, local businesswoman, outdoor recreation enthusiast, classical musician, hockey-playing mom, union stage hand, health care and sexual assault advocate, with an MBA focusing on Community Development. She is passionate about her beliefs and lives them. Susan has a vision for an inclusive, economically diverse, sustainable Squamish where we can all afford to live and have a business; and she is willing to stand up and fight for that Vision.
Susan applauds the significant accomplishments of our current council, while still championing that we can do better:
Susan has a plan for creating a Local Housing Authority to address affordable housing needs in Squamish, arguably our most critical need. She has worked with the provincial government on bringing health initiatives to Squamish and will direct that same passion to ensuring social housing gets long term funding. She is willing to mandate commercial and industrial lands are protected with zoning requirements, preserving and creating a diversified tax base. This will relieve the tax burden on residential properties while bringing jobs to Squamish. With improved transportation access and infrastructure as one of her main platforms and joint accomplishment with the current council, she is best positioned to champion a regional transit solution to support workers and ensure vulnerable populations have a safe means of travel. She will ensure Community Amenity Contributions are at a level that sustains infrastructure needs for the entire district.
You can either let change happen, or ensure change happens in a manner that benefits and improves the entire community!
Squamish has been, and will be, pushed over by big developers and big business, unless we stand up for what is needed for this community with a vision for OUR future. I appreciate all of the numerous policies and decisions the current council has worked through. However, we can do better. We have given in too much and given away too much for too little in return. We can’t stop development, but we can ensure it happens in a way that contributes enough to our community, to keep it functioning, whole and sustainable for everyone, now and into the future.
It is not steady times. It is not traditional times. There are numerous stakeholder groups, including the vulnerable and marginalized, that need a strong voice now. And I believe that voice is Susan Chapelle.
Thank-You for your continued support and consideration. Sacha Fabry