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EDITORIAL: Our business

Sometimes it seems the things local governments do best is meddle in things they have no authority over.

Sometimes it seems the things local governments do best is meddle in things they have no authority over.

Back in the 1980s, Edmonton city council declared the city a "nuclear-free zone" - apparently forcing the Soviet Union to point its missiles at the adjacent suburb of St. Albert.

More recently, Vancouver's COPE-dominated city council has gotten into a similar activist vein, wasting hours talking about the U.S.'s "Star Wars" missile defense and the war in Iraq.

No wonder - not only are international affairs more interesting than roads and sewers, they're issues that these armchair world diplomats don't actually have to take responsibility for.

Which brings us to our own Squamish council, whose members have decided to weigh into the hottest issue going in West Vancouver - the route of the Sea to Sky Highway through Canada's richest community.

But unlike the above examples, Squamish's elected officials are doing exactly the right thing when they poke their noses into our neighbours' yard.

Hwy. 99 is our community's only road connection to the outside world, and with a third of our working population commuting up and down that road daily, we have as much of a stake in what happens there as West Vancouver residents.

Coun. Dave Fenn worries about the precedent of intruding on West Van's tunnel debate, asking if that would give West Vancouver councillors the right to have a say in how the highway will wind through Squamish.

We're willing to take that chance - at this rate, there's likely to be precious little consultation here. In fact, making noise about the West Van tunnel might be the only way we get to speak out on the project.

According to the project website,, public consultation was supposed to take place in Squamish in March. Here we are, halfway through April and the Ministry of Transportation hasn't even got a date set for consultation in Squamish. With construction set to start in June of this year to be finished by 2009, the Ministry either plans to not consult the people most directly affected by the project or to delay the start of construction- and the Olympics don't leave a lot of time for delays.

Squamish has to get the attention of the provincial government to make sure planning for Hwy. 99 doesn't just rush on through Squamish with little more than a pit stop for gas.