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Mayor throws in the towel

Squamish will soon have a new leader to usher in the 2010 Olympics and tackling the effects of rapid development, as Mayor Ian Sutherland will not be running for re-election this fall.

Squamish will soon have a new leader to usher in the 2010 Olympics and tackling the effects of rapid development, as Mayor Ian Sutherland will not be running for re-election this fall. He made the announcement on Tuesday (June 10), noting that he hopes the decision helps others make plans for November.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," he said.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. It was a complicated negotiation that resulted in an incredible deal for the district," he said.Currently, it is hard to tell who will be involved in the mayoral race. Council watchdog Terrill Patterson has said he will only run if there is no competition for the candidate seeking election. 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.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."Gardner gave Sutherland kudos for his contribution to Squamish."I'm very appreciative of the fact that he's given six years of public service to the community."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," he said. "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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