After serving as an elected official for a term, Coun. Armand Hurford will ask voters to promote him to the mayor’s office.
Hurford, the owner of Republic Bicycles, is a fourth-generation resident of Squamish. He is a founding member of SORCA and the master of ceremonies (MC) at the Squamish Days Loggers Sports events.
Speaking with The Squamish Chief on Aug. 30, Hurford said there were three pegs to his election platform — affordability, growth and development management, and finding common ground between community members.
He said that as a renter, he is aware of the issues surrounding affordability in town.
“I’m a renter, and I’ve experienced this directly,” said Hurford. “I think I’ve lived in three different places during the pandemic… So it’s very much a lived experience for me on the affordability side.”
While there are no silver bullets to solve this issue, he said there are some further things the municipality can do to address this problem.
One way is by supporting the District’s Squamish Community Housing Society, which seeks to increase housing accessibility, he said. Another is by altering community amenity contribution requirements to compel developers to offer more affordable housing. Other conditions can be added. This can include a requirement for developers to give land or donate residential dwelling units to the housing society.
Regarding his next pillar, the management of growth and development, Hurford said one priority would be to ensure that Squamish doesn’t turn into a bedroom community.
“Development can’t be housing only,” he said. “We need to make sure that we’re doing what we can to create mixed-use areas and neighbourhood nodes. All these things come into play to make sure that we’re increasing employment space. So there’s opportunity here to bring our workforce home.”
He also advocated for a community-driven approach to development.
For the Cheema lands, also known as District lots 509 and 510, Hurford said that it’s necessary for the developer to provide as much information as possible so the community can make a sound decision as to whether it should be considered.
“I’d like to see as much detail as I can,” he said. “So the community understands what we’re actually contemplating.”
He said while developers shape the town, this should be done as directed by the community.
Hurford added that he is not receiving support from any developers or special interests and will continue on that track throughout his campaign.
His platform’s final pillar involves finding common ground, or fostering more public engagement.
One way this can happen is by creating more standing committees for public input. An example would be to create a seniors standing committee, he said. This could help the town create conditions that would prevent the flight of long-time Squamish residents as they age.
Finally, he added that the climate emergency is an overarching issue that needs to be incorporated into how the District makes all its decisions.
The municipal election will occur on Oct. 15.