Former Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) councillor Deanna Lewis, also known as Kálkalilh, is running to become the mayor of the District of Squamish.
If she succeeds, Lewis will have the rare claim of being an Indigenous woman in municipal office. She said she wants more Indigenous voices in places where they can be heard.
"I deeply care about all our people here, but being able to show a true voice for our Squamish Nation members at this table, because it sets precedence for our future and being able to show our young people that we do have a place, and we are being heard," said Lewis.
"I feel like we've always wanted to be heard at the table and at the District level, and we haven't. We don't know how to create that dialogue. And so I would be able to help…bring our people together in that sense. And I don't feel like we even belong, and we've been here since time immemorial. And that's hard to say, because our ancestors were engineers — they were brilliant."
Lewis worked in tourism as a guide and as a teacher in the Sea to Sky School District.
Affordable housing is one key part of her platform, and Lewis said it's one she understands well as a renter.
She said she would encourage further dialogue on this matter.
"It's about getting the right people in the room to speak," said Lewis. "I think it starts with education, because we know that these issues are here with housing, right? So it's about getting the right people to have dialogue, and it starts with our master planning."
Another aspect of Lewis' platform is transportation.
She said that she would advocate for better public transit, especially in the surrounding rural areas outside of the core areas of Squamish.
"Transportation is a big issue just alone with my Squamish Nation. And I want to be able to bring those key issues…especially with Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women," said Lewis. "We're still having that risk. We have no bus service to the Paradise Valley, which [are] our farthest villages that we have. And then in Stawamus — the two farthest points for when you first come to Squamish, and in Cheekye and…Squamish Valley, there is no service. So we're putting our people at risk still."
Lewis also noted that parking was an issue top of mind for many people in town.
She supported the creation of a parkade in downtown Squamish, saying it would be an ideal place to park and then walk, given the large amount of public events in that area.
"Almost every household has probably two vehicles as well, because it is so spread out in Squamish," said Lewis. "You have a big truck, and you can't park anywhere. And so, of course, like in any development that is happening, parking needs to be addressed with it."
She said that as a former teacher, education is important to her. As a result, Lewis said she'd like to build closer relationships with the school board and its trustees.