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Eric Andersen seeks a second term as Squamish councillor

Andersen is known for his work to preserve local history and forestry education.
Eric Andersencouncildeclarationphoto
Eric Andersen.

A councillor known for his work to preserve local history, as well as his advocacy for forestry, is seeking another term in office.

Eric Andersen, who has served on council for the past four years, is seeking to extend his job in elected office by another term.

While he has no formal training as a historian, many look to Andersen as a keeper of Squamish's stories.

He's worked with the Squamish Historical Society, does consulting work for non-profits on heritage projects and is involved in forestry education.

Andersen said that one of the pillars of his platform is a commitment to smart growth.

One tenet of this idea is having a complete community where good jobs are close to home. This means paying attention to job-creating industries.

"We do need increased attention to our core and enabling sectors, including tourism, transportation, and manufacturing, wood products, forestry, and wood products manufacturing," said Andersen.

One way the municipality can help make this happen is to create land strategies for specific sectors.

"Our ambition level in economic development is in a better state than it was five to 10 years ago, but we are needing to build strategies that we don't yet have," said Andersen.

"And in order to bring those jobs, those high-wage jobs, we need to be concerned about how we are prepared. Do we want these industries? What does it look like to the outside investor?"

He said that at the moment, the District has no land strategy for primary forestry, which includes sawmilling, log sorts, long-term wood waste handling or secondary manufacturing.

He also said more work needs to be done on developing a strategy for the port lands.

"There is no strategy," he continued. "That's not to blame anybody — [it's because of] events and different priorities. Over the past two decades, we have re-designated and rezoned a lot of lands that were formerly occupied by these industries. But they're not going away."

Andersen said a lack of certain types of infrastructure is a concern, noting marine access for all watercraft is lacking. He added that the municipality is also short on tourism infrastructure, observing the loss of campground and tourism-commercial zoned land.

Again, land-use strategies are a recurring theme.

"Where's the future tourist-commercial zoned land?" said Andersen. "And should we have a land-use strategy that takes this into account? We didn't really consider it when we did that rezoning."

Another area of his platform involves creating attainable housing. While the municipality does have limited authority with respect to housing, he said that shouldn't stop a local government from asking for help from senior levels of government.

"I think we shouldn't limit ourselves to the powers that we have. I mean, as a municipality, I think we need to be doing more strategic advocacy, vis-à-vis the federal and provincial and federal governments," Andersen said.

"We can engage with the province about what they put forward in [their] policy priorities for affordable housing. And it is really focused on large urban centres — and that's not Squamish…I think we need to help the province understand that we have our own circumstances."

The municipal election is on Oct. 15.


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