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Mayor throws in the towel

Squamish will soon have a new leader to usher in the 2010 Olympics and tackle the effects of rapid development, as Mayor Ian Sutherland announced Tuesday (June 10) he will not be running for re-election this fall.

Squamish will soon have a new leader to usher in the 2010 Olympics and tackle the effects of rapid development, as Mayor Ian Sutherland announced Tuesday (June 10) he will not be running for re-election this fall. Sutherland has served as mayor for six years - a position he said consumed much of his life. "It was always my intention to serve a maximum of two terms. The position takes a tremendous amount of time and energy and two terms seems to me the right amount of time." The mayoral achievement he said he is most proud of is securing the Nexen lands for $3."That's a community legacy that for the first time gives our citizens access to our own waterfront."Currently, it is hard to tell who will be involved in the mayoral race. There has long been speculation that Coun. Greg Gardner will run for mayor, but he has continued to dodge the question, adding that Sutherland's decision will not affect his own."That decision has no impact on my decision whether or not to run for mayor," he said. "I'm going to make that decision in the very near future."Coun. Corinne Lonsdale said she was "surprised" that Sutherland made his announcement when he did, thinking he would have made it "further down the road." But she said she had expected the decision, based on things Sutherland has said over the last few years.Lonsdale said the announcement had no impact on her own future electoral plans."At this point in time I plan to run as a councillor," she said, emphasizing that while things could change, that is her intention at this moment.Coun. Patricia Heintzman said she is not 100 per cent sure if she will run in the next election, but is considering pursuing a position on council.Coun. Mike Jenson said he will run for re-election as a councillor but will not step into the mayoral race."I think that there will be a couple of other worthy candidates," he said of the mayoral position. "I think that council is for me."Coun. Jeff McKenzie said he is considering a mayoral run, but he hasn't made any decisions yet."I've been thinking about it for the past six months, and I'm still thinking about it."Coun. Raj Kahlon said if he contests another election, he will run for mayor, but he won't be able to announce his decision until early September, after a family reunion in August.And as always, council watchdog Terrill Patterson said he will run if there is no competition for the candidate seeking election.The upcoming election carries added importance since it will decide who represents Squamish during the 2010 Olympics. Sutherland admitted it was hard to pass up on the opportunity, but said it would be unfair to pursue the position for that reason."It would be irresponsible for me to stick around for me to be in chair for 21 days during the Olympics," he said, adding, "I'll be there some way or another."He had a few words of advice for the next person to step into the role. "I think one of the toughest things when I started doing this is if you're going to be successful in getting things done you've got to push things along. And when you do that, you're going to irritate people."He said there is also a lot more time involved than some people realize. "Even though it's considered a part-time job, it's basically a full-time job and then some," he said. "Generally people, from all accounts, they think all we do is meet on Tuesday. There are a lot of long days and legal issues."Council meetings may feel a little different now that people can see the election and an open seat for mayor on the horizon, he admitted. "Everybody calls right about now silly season," he said. "There will probably be motions that we're all in favour of safe driving and things like that."Overall, Sutherland said council has done a good job, keeping their focus off of re-election and onto the tasks at hand."I think from time to time there are people on council that are looking ahead to November. I think for the most part council's done a good job."With more free time on his hands, Sutherland said he would be able to dedicate more time to his book publishing and marketing business.He said he would also continue with his community involvement, which includes coaching hockey."I've always been involved in things and I will continue to be," he said. "Squamish is a great place."Sutherland said he hopes the next mayor brings his own priorities and style to the position to keep the community fresh and vibrant."Every new person in the position will find a new way of doing things," he said.

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