The recently elected Squamish mayor and council were officially sworn in for duty in a ceremony on Tuesday evening.
The event took place at the Squamish Valley Golf Club on Nov. 1 with about 75 attendees. The council-elect was piped in by Devin Biln of the Black Tusk Caledonia Pipes and Drum Band followed by a Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) blessing from Allan Harry.
Judge James Sutherland presided over oaths and affirmations for new Mayor, Armand Hurford, along with councillors Eric Andersen, John French, Andrew Hamilton, Chris Pettingill and Jenna Stoner. Coun. Lauren Greenlaw was absent due to a prior obligation, said Mayor Hurford, but would be sworn in within the coming weeks.
The ceremony was followed by a short council meeting plus councillor remarks and an inaugural address from Hurford.
“I’ll start by thanking all of you for coming out tonight and being with us to witness this event that I know everyone at this table is going to remember for the rest of our days,” Hurford said.
Hurford went on to thank outgoing Mayor Karen Elliott for her kindness and leadership, his partner and family for their support, as well as those who helped with his campaign.
He also remarked about the difficulties of the campaign and election.
“Voters had to not only research the candidates, but navigate a relentless onslaught of misinformation attack campaigns, social media trolls — both real and manufactured — while attempting to decipher the intentions of the anonymous people or entities responsible,” he said.
“I commend the voters for their choices in the face of these forces. Now that the campaign and election process has concluded, it’s important to recognize these unnamed outside forces are still out there,” he continued. “I want you to know that I will do everything in my power to fight these forces. Squamish is my home and I will do my level best to protect it.”
“Squamish is facing complex challenges and opportunities. Realizing the full true potential of Squamish, our home, will take all of us working constructively and enthusiastically together. And, when I say all of us together, I mean not only those of us elected, but the community as a whole.”
Many councillors thanked their families for their support throughout the campaign process. As well, many thanked the community for their trust and willingness to vote them into council.
Coun. Stoner said she believes further work is necessary to diversify future elected councils.
“We’re lacking in gender diversity, racial diversity, diversity of abilities, of income and I also don’t believe our age demographics reflect those in our community” she said. “If we want future councils to look more diverse and representative than what we have here tonight, we need to do the hard work today to dismantle those barriers to entry.”
As for the council meeting, council appointed each councillor and mayor to various roles. For first-time councillors Greenlaw and Hamilton, they will hit the ground running as both were appointed to several municipal positions.
Following a portion of her campaign focused on the environment, Coun. Greenlaw was appointed to the Ocean Watch Action Committee as well as the Community Forest Board. She also will serve as an alternate to Coun. Pettingill on the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) Board.
As for Coun. Hamilton, he was appointed as the voting delegate to represent the District with the Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia. Additionally, he was appointed to the Squamish Library Board.
Returning councillors Andersen, French, Pettingill and Stoner were appointed to positions on the SLRD board, Community Forest Board, Economic Leadership Team, Economic Partners Forum, Food Policy Council, Squamish Sustainability Corporation and Squamish Community Housing Society.