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Squamish mayor and councillor visit Japan

Mayor Armand Hurford and Coun. Lauren Greenlaw take part in a commemorative event with Squamish’s sister city, Shimizu, on Nov. 3. The trip does not impede the Nov. 7 council meeting.
View from Shimizu port. The mayor and one councillor from Squamish are currently in Shimizu.

Mayor Armand Hurford and Coun. Lauren Greenlaw headed to Japan for a commemorative event with Squamish’s sister city Shimizu.

On May 29, Squamish council received an invitation from the Mayor of Shimizu Town, Yoshihiro Seki, to the town’s 60th anniversary of establishment on Nov. 3, 2023. In subsequent council meetings, Hurford and Greenlaw were chosen as delegates to attend.

A spokesperson for the District of Squamish, Rachel Boguski, wrote to The Squamish Chief that final costs have yet to be finalized, but the council unanimously voted  at a July 4 regular business meeting to allocate up to $11,000 from the council contingency funds. The $11,000 cost was initially based on sending three representatives yet council ultimately opted to send two representatives instead.

“Taking all of these estimates into account, the total cost of a seven day trip to Shimizu, Japan from Vancouver, B.C. would be approximately $2,250 to $3,550 per person. Keeping in mind that these are estimates, and actual costs may vary based on choices. As of the date of this memo, it is estimated that a delegation of three would cost between $6,750 to $10,650,” reads a memo presented to council on July 4. 

“This does not include gifts or unknown travel or hotel taxes. The current balance of the council contingency account is $25,000.”

On July 4, several council members commented on the importance of maintaining a relationship with Shimizu after hearing a short summary from municipal staff about previous visits.

“These relationships can bring benefits to our community, but you have to invest in it and keep the relationship active,” said Coun. Eric Andersen.

Upcoming for council is a Nov. 7 regular business meeting where a public hearing is scheduled for a bylaw amendment that removes density limitations on affordable housing projects. Boguski said the public hearing will continue ahead as planned and Hurford and Greenlaw have “the option to participate virtually.”

Shimizu is 16 hours ahead of Squamish, meaning a 6 p.m. local start to the council meeting would be a 10 a.m. start for Hurford and Greenlaw. Moreover, a quorum for municipal councils is defined as the majority number in the Community Charter; with seven elected officials in Squamish, there needs to be at least four present to reach a quorum.

For more information about the trip, view the July 4 regular business meeting.

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