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Adrien Byrne, a public affairs professional, announces Squamish council bid

Byrne says he will be engaging in a 'listening tour' that will inform his platform.
Adrien Byrne.
Adrien Byrne.

Adrien Byrne, a corporate spokesperson and communications professional, is the third person to officially declare to The Squamish Chief that he will seek a position as councillor in this fall's municipal election.

Byrne has worked in public affairs, representing the interests of organizations such as the Urban Development Institute's pacific region, Chevron, Parkland Fuel Corporation, and, most recently, the BC Dairy Association.

He's also served on non-profits such as Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the children's charity, Variety.

A Canadian-born Australian, Byrne also worked Down Under in local government as an environmental planner, as well as a policy advisor for the Urban Development Institute's Australian branch.

He's been a Squamish resident since 2016.

At the moment, he's finished his contract with the dairy association and is devoting all his efforts to running for office. If elected, he said, he would not take communications or public relations jobs to avoid conflicts of interest.

He acknowledged there may be perceived conflicts of interest with respect to his past employers. For example, from 2010 to 2013, he was a communications manager at the Urban Development Institute's pacific region, which represents the interests of many developers.

The institute's membership includes developers such as Polygon Homes and Fast Property, which both have significant development interests in Squamish.

However, Byrne framed his familiarity with the UDI as a benefit.

"I do understand why there is a perceived conflict, but there is an important responsibility to participate in those issues," he told The Squamish Chief on Aug. 5. "Given my background with UDI…I will be the first to grill every aspect of [a] development, because I understand the planning and development process. There will be no easy ride, and I would make all decisions based on merit."

Byrne promised that he would be engaging in a "listening tour" that will inform his platform, which he plans to release at a future date.

At the moment, however, there are three areas where he made his views known — childcare, a splash park and Garibaldi at Squamish.

"There's such a severe shortage of childcare," said Byrne. "And I'm really going to be a strong advocate for more childcare spaces, working with private providers, and setting a policy environment that encourages more childcare spaces."

He said a potential tool would be to craft a strengthened community amenity contribution policy that would require developers to include childcare spaces in new developments. Byrne said he also wanted to cut red tape and create more purpose-built rentals. This would help childcare facilities open quickly and give ECE workers a place to live.

Byrne also said that he'd like to see a splash park built in Brennan Park sooner rather than later.

He has previously spoken at public hearings in support of the Garibaldi at Squamish project, and his views on that prospective development remain the same.

"I think we do need another recreational space of that nature, which will also take pressure off the sensitive environment that we have around Squamish," he said.

The pandemic highlighted the need for more spaces for outdoor recreation, and a large resort like Garibaldi at Squamish would help ease the burden on the community's already-overcrowded outdoor amenities, he said.

The local government election is on Oct. 15.