Re: the all-candidates' meeting Nov. 7:
Why is the Chamber of Commerce in charge of this meeting?
The moderator performed very well considering the amount of public present.
Ninety per cent of the questions asked could have been answered at a regular council meeting. It appeared manipulated groups were present.
This meeting held once every three years is too cumbersome - 24 candidates!
The question time limit at the forum reduced me to two questions:
1. Terrill Patterson: were you to become Mayor, what would you do with the Chamber?
2. Mr. Dowad and Corinne Lonsdale: whatever your grievances are, why did you not run for Mayor (the one in charge)?
This performance was a waste of time.
Slate not needed
Do we really need a slate? The past three years has been one person's ideas and four echoes, isn't this called a dictatorship?
Squamish needs free-thinking council members who have the overall good of Squamish and its residents at heart, and not their own personal agenda. Why the secrecy? It seems this council has more in-camera meetings than all previous councils.
Fiscal irresponsibility: case in point the Misadventure Centre, including land. Rumour has it that taxpayers are on the hook for approximately $5 million. Unfortunately, we have to rely on rumour, because the mayor and his cohorts neglect to advise the public of the real dollars (he talks in pizzas). The Reserve Funds have been depleted with all of the irresponsible spending. I shudder to think of what property taxes will be in 2006.
What did our mayor and his slate do to retain jobs in Squamish? We lost hundreds of jobs without a fight - Interfor, mill and logging and the indirect secondary jobs, truckers and suppliers etc. The loss of B.C. Rail, which our mayor thought to be such a deal - the Nexen land isn't even developable without a Certificate of Compliance, which the Province has yet to issue. Sure there is lots of construction, apartments and townhouses etc. but this is short term. We need a new council with a vision for light industry in our community.
There is life after 2010 (God willing and the creek don't rise); most of us won't even be able to afford to attend the events even if the buses do stop to pick us up. Let's look beyond this time for growth and long-term employment.
So, back to my question, do we need a slate? Let's elect some individuals who have a mind of their own. Remember voters, you do not have to vote for six council members. You may vote for one, two, three, four, five or six.
Ellen M. Elliot
Woman struggling to breathe struggled for help
What has our small town come to?
Oct. 31 was a cold, dark rainy night. I was on my way into the local corner store when I saw a woman, wheezing, sitting on the masonry wall outside the store. Struggling to speak I managed to make out what she was saying "Do you have a puffer?"
My daughter used to have asthma and I only live three blocks from the store, so I thought the quickest solution was to call my husband to see if he could locate one of my daughter's puffers. Unfortunately he could not, realized the lady was getting worse, I put her in my truck and took her to the hospital, where the nurse and doctor took very good care of her.
While I sat with her waiting to make sure she was going to be all right and her two children were taken care of, we got to talking about her night. She told me she was moving. She had been working hard and was completely exhausted and was walking when this attack came on. She could hardly breathe, a police officer drove up to her and she asked him if he had venation in his car. He did not, however, he did ask her how far did she have to go to get venation. She said "downtown" as she watched him drive away.
Many times asthma and other medical problems could be mistaken for alcohol or drug abuse, but I would think that a police officer or any human being with a conscience would take the time to stop and evaluate the situation and in any case give a person who is struggling to breathe the help they require.
Imagine how this story could have ended.
Legion responds on bingo
In response to Ms. Billy's letter in the Nov. 4 edition of The Chief regarding Monday Night Bingo, it has never been our intention to compete for bingo players.
The Royal Canadian Legion is a non-profit organization and we support the following local charities: breakfast and lunch programs at the elementary schools; the pipe band, Special Olympics, the Howe Sound Women's Centre, the food bank, the soup kitchen, U-14 boys' soccer, minor hockey, minor ball, Army and Air Cadets, the scouting and guiding groups and many other local charities. For economic reasons, we were forced to sell the bottom half of our building and now we must conduct our business differently.
Due to BC Lottery Corporation regulations, we are not permitted to hold bingo when the Legion is open. Having tried bingo on Sunday nights without any success, we are left with no other option than to have our bingo on Monday nights.
We trust we can continue to work together in the community to help raise much-needed funds for all local charities.
Royal Canadian Legion - Diamond Head Branch 277
Teachers disappointed by board during strike
The following letter to School District 48 Board Chair Doug Hackett was submitted to The Chief for publication.
Dear Mr. Hackett,
This letter is being written to express our disappointment with the actions of the Board of School Trustees during the recent labour dispute.
As we hope you know, generally teachers are law-abiding citizens who are respectful, flexible and accommodating. The passing of Bill 12 by the Liberal government was heavy-handed and mean-spirited, and we appreciate that the public understood this and stood with us during the strike.
When we appeared before the Board on Oct. 12, we were extremely surprised that you did not seem to understand why we were off the job, nor that we couldn't just "go back to work tomorrow".
We asked that you write a letter to the government stating that Bill 12 was wrong and encouraging direct talks with the BCTF, since clearly BCPSEA had been given no mandate to bargain in good faith. It would have been so easy for you to have joined the majority of other boards around the province in requesting that Bill 12 be repealed and a settlement be reached through negotiation.
Your failure to do so has seriously damaged goodwill between the board and teachers, and left many of us feeling angry and frustrated.
Despite this, we are holding our heads up high and doing the best job we can in our classrooms, because we are professionals and because we know that fighting for restoration of better working and learning conditions is the right thing to do. We sincerely hope that the next school board will speak out strongly in support of public education, and work hard to re-establish a good relationship with its employees.
Hilary Fisher, Jean Wilkinson, Maureen Albrighton, Cara Tarling, Donna Harness, Eric Hagedorn, Shannon Fieldhouse
Brackendale Elementary School Teachers
Man apologizes for disrupting council meeting
My sincerest apologies to members at council for my emotional outburst at the Nov. 1 meeting at City Hall.
As I sat in front of you all looking at the photographs, realizing that I wasn't being allowed to speak, something inside me moved me. Envisioning the bulldozers coming onto my leased property and crushing everything I've worked for the past 10 years disturbed my psyche.
I am hoping that by doing much clean up, between now and the next time the DOS inspects the property, the latter does not prevail.
What Olympic legacy?
I would like to add my voice to the chorus of disappointed citizens of Squamish concerned about the legacy of the Olympic Games. In recent weeks Mayor Sutherland has expressed publicly his indignation with the failed promises of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee. First was the lost opportunity of a much needed second sheet of ice that could have been used for the Paralympics sledge hockey and secondly was the possibility of some sort of high speed ferry terminus on the Nexen lands.
Maybe the latter was a bit 'pie in the sky' but it was nonetheless touted in the 'bid book' as a way of dealing with the perceived transportation shortcomings of the Vancouver/Whistler bid. Both opportunities for Squamish have simply slipped away.
I believe another loss is quietly happening with most of the community unaware and even if we were we are apparently helpless to do anything about it. Over the past year or so, the Provincial Dictators (a.k.a. the Liberal Government) is slowly, but surely, transferring various parcels of Crown Land within the District of Squamish to the Squamish Nation.
In the absence of substantive progress on treaty negotiations it appears that the Liberal Government is proceeding with what are referred to as 'land swaps' with various First Nations in order to ensure, among other things, First Nation support for the Olympic Games. In and of itself, this might be fine and good and I certainly have no idea what the Squamish Nation will do with the land within the District but what I do know is that this is all happening with little if any involvement of the community of Squamish.
These lands are part of the core recreational assets that make Squamish what it is. They are laced with hiking, running and mountain biking trails. The trails are heavily used and highly valued. As Crown Land there are various well understood and functional systems in place to provide access and utilization of the land by the public. As Crown Land they are in essence 'public land' and are, in an ideal world, meant to serve the greater good of the community. From what I understand, these lands are being given to the Squamish Nation in 'fee simple' which means, quite simply, that they are receiving 'title' to the land. With this transfer of title certain restrictions or covenants may (or may not) be attached that dictate how the land can be used. Regrettably, no one was able to tell me what these might be. There is a veil of secrecy shrouding these proceedings and ministry staff are bound by a gag order not to discuss it. What is clear however is that the Squamish Nation, as the title holder, will be the new 'landlord' with whom any interested user group will have to negotiate.
It remains a possibility that the Squamish Nation will prove to be an even more enlightened and cooperative manager of their lands in respect to recreation than the Crown. Nevertheless, as a non-native and as a local outdoor enthusiast I can't help but wonder where the 'legacy' is in all this.
How things have changed
Came back for a short visit and wow, the stuff that's going on here. The town is growing with buildings going up all over. The article about the signed blank cheques and the past practices of the Chamber are certainly food for thought. It's hard to imagine that this can occur in Squamish.
The loss of the venue for 2010 to Whistler, seems VANOC has its own agenda and has decided not to include Squamish. I have heard many people talk about this and one of the rumours is that the Mayor missed the opportunity to capitalize on this. Perhaps he thought it was a given that Squamish would be included, but failed to realize he should have fought sooner and harder to get the venues for Squamish. It appears that the same thought process is going into the downtown revitalization and the dealings with the recent CN derailments.
The mayor comes out appearing that he is not happy with CN and yet does little to dig in and come up with some bylaws that will protect the people of Squamish when CN derails again. A train going 60 km-h through Squamish or Brackendale is going to do a lot more damage then one going 15 km-h. I guess we need a disaster spilling chemicals or trains going into peoples homes when they leave the track at high speed to get the mayor to take the blinders off and actually do something.
As for the downtown plan that Mr. Sutherland has in mind it probably will never happen because the simple fact that the masses of people driving through will not turn off a major highway to go and look to see what is there. If I remember correctly I had mentioned some time ago that the businesses like doctors offices, lawyers, companies etc. could stay downtown but the retail business has to be along the highway with easy access and then Squamish will thrive.
All you have to do is tour Canada and the U.S. and take a good look at the towns of equal size and you will see that the ones where you have to turn off to access them are dead and the easy highway access ones are thriving. That is the nature of people and I don't believe that is going to change soon. I would say that I agree with the VIEWS that were in the Oct. 28 edition of The Chief. It's time for a change in local politics as SND seems to have lost the compass and the direction is not so clear anymore. I wonder if this could be a reason why when I go to the mall in the town I moved to, I see so many people that used to live in Squamish. The other reason I see so many ex-Squamish people must be the palm trees that grow there, half the amount of rain, and the overall cleanliness of the town.
Well, those are my thoughts on the latest. When I came back to move more household stuff and read the paper I just couldn't resist having my say.
Arts on the waterfront
The following letter to the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation was provided to The Chief for publication.Howe Sound Performing Arts Association has played a key role in the culture of this community for 13 years. With respect to development of the oceanfront - formerly known as the Nexen lands - we hope you will consider our opinion.
Culture embodies the many facets of a community and includes sports, the arts, education, history and more. Our Squamish culture - past and present - deserves the very best location.
We need to claim a space of our own on the waterfront. It needs to be large enough to hold festivals and other celebrations.
We're talking about a significant commons area and public facilities where people from all walks of life can meet... your children, your grandchildren, for generations to come.
Did you catch the excitement when the windsurfing competition was held at the south beach? This area needs to be preserved.
Cities around the world are re-claiming their waterfronts. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity. Let's keep the best for the people of Squamish. We've waited a long time for the dream to happen.
Out-going President, Howe Sound
Performing Arts Association