Whether you're one of the recent Whistler or Vancouver transplants, or you're a Squamish lifer, we all have one thing in common: we're concerned about the direction Squamish is going. The only difference is how we prioritize that concern since family, self, and job take most of everyone's time. Hence it's so easy to just keep quiet and exasperate "No one listens anyway."
Oh but that's not true. It's an election year and our mayor and council hear every word. Unfortunately, they only hear what people are telling them. Of the thousands in our community there are but a handful of private citizens who find the time and effort to talk to our council.
Other than that, the only people talking are the people with serious money on the line.Now, lobbyists are nothing new: it's just how the game is played and if you stand to make donkey loads of cash, of course you would pay someone to influence elected officials.
For instance, there are people desperately wanting to crush our affordable housing strategy if the recent Landholders Association "white paper" is any indication. You remember, it's the one saying the poor are the "chosen few" with the usual spiel about landowners deserving all the money while downloading everything onto the district taxpayer.
Which is fine: with so much money on the line they'd be stupid to endorse something that helps those in Squamish struggling to afford living here. And council would be just as stupid to listen to them above all others.Sadly, most people don't have time to pay attention, let alone get involved. They just hope their elected officials are in tune with their community enough to handle these difficult decisions. Well forget hope people, the time to talk is now.
Need proof? How's this: Mayor and council were unable to decide if Squamish wants curbside recycling. Oh, it gets better (in a bludgeon your head kind of way). Not only has this question taken up taxpayer funded council meeting time, but they want to spend more time and money deciding whether to spend up to $9,000 on a poll asking the community if we want curbside recycling. We barely have enough to shovel snow or help out the food bank for jiminy sake!
This is truly appalling and to deliberate this for another second is an affront to the decency of everyone in Squamish.Why not ask if we want our potholes fixed or un-contaminated drinking water? Curbside recycling would cost only $25 a year.
That's less than the gas I'm spending driving to those appalling stop-gap community dumps. And you can only recycle if you have a car? That is truly asinine. So, with news like this, it's obvious not enough people are talking to our elected officials. Now some of you are holding your anger in until election day. Please don't.
There are still plenty of important policies and decisions left to make. They can still do good, they just obviously need a lot of encouragement.