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Threats to Brackendale's identity Editor, I can see the need for a new Squamish "brand" since we apparently can't use "The Heart of 2010". After wholeheartedly backing the bid we find ourselves left out in the rain, so to speak.

Threats to Brackendale's identity


I can see the need for a new Squamish "brand" since we apparently can't use "The Heart of 2010". After wholeheartedly backing the bid we find ourselves left out in the rain, so to speak.

But before there was a need for a new Olympic-free slogan we already were "The Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada", a concept that many people were involved with initiating and have since used for marketing. Why not build on that?

Which brings me to change (Jason Bechard, Letters, Jan. 14). Change is inevitable ("The future is friendly) but change needs to build on community not bully the citizens and bulldoze what others have worked hard to create and sustain. Here in Brackendale we have successfully repelled proponents of a go-cart track, an incinerator and an asphalt plant and now, once again, we have to fight airport expansion and proposed changes to postal addresses.

I applaud Liz Tait (Jan. 19) for her expert advice regarding the "jewel" we have in our existing airport and her faith that there are improvements that can be made "without compromising the neighbours". Increased air traffic may be inevitable as the community grows and the Olympics approach and safety measures may need to be improved but let me be perfectly clear: jet engine aircraft are not on the radar for this community. By the way, Liz, eagles do not nest in this area, they roost. That is, when they are not commuting between the dump and the river in a flight path directly over the airport.

According to the article (Jan. 14) on the revival of the postal code debate, the Chamber of Commerce thinks Squamish is a more recognizable name than Brackendale. You wish. The Chamber has long been irritated by the "branding" success of Brackendale: Winter Home of the Bald Eagle, Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park, Brackendale Winter Eagle Festival & Count, Brackendale Fall Fair, and all that Brackendale hype in the media. This postal code issue looks very much like a red herring.

Nothing needs to be changed in order for new housing developments and high volume institutions to get their own postal codes. Let those businesses and residents who wish to do so insert "District of Squamish" between their local area name and the postal code. Let the rest of us keep our identity, our V0N1H0 and our post office (!) and spare us the expense and inconvenience of changing the address on all of our brochures, stationery, business cards, websites, signs, etc. and notifying all our customers, relatives and friends.

As they are another aspect of the move to homogenize the District of Squamish by obliterating neighbourhood identities, I must also mention the new signs that have appeared in many places directing visitors to recreation opportunities in the area. They are beautiful and well-conceived, except for one thing: they don't tell visitors where they are. The answer to "Where do you live?" is Valleycliffe, Garibaldi Highlands, Dentville, Brackendale and before long, University Hill. To say "Squamish" is no help at all.

Finally, speaking of historic community identities, in the new 8th edition National Geographic Atlas, the Republic of Brackendale, established in 1886, still has its very own dot!

Dorte Froslev

On behalf of the Brackendale Farmers' Institute

Squamish needs home delivery


The Chamber of Commerce and the District of Squamish are once again trying to change the way the post office delivers mail, even though a survey found over 80 per cent of Squamish residents favoured no change to the existing system.

The Garibaldi Highlands post office and the downtown post office have recently undergone extensive renovations at a cost of thousands of dollars. One of the reasons for the change was due to the amount of break ins and thieves looking for cheques or worse still, credit card account numbers. From discussions with the general public, door-to-door delivery is by far the preferred mode of delivery. We do have delivery points in our community, for example, some townhouses, the Industrial Park and the seniors' complex and most of these have experienced break-ins. One complex in particular has had so many break-ins that the residents are fed up with repairing the mail boxes, they now pick up their mail at the post office and are considering taking out the boxes all together.

Community mailboxes are definitely a target for thieves, they devalue property and litter is a problem.

The population of Squamish is now approximately 15,000 and is sure to grow more.

If the District of Squamish feels a change is required then door-to-door delivery by Canada Post letter carriers would be a positive move in the right direction as opposed to community mail boxes (CMBs).

Jean Verner, President

Canadian Union of Postal Workers local 837

Public consultation lacking


It has come to my attention that District Council, without consulting the general public, may have requested that our mail delivery system be converted from its present system of post offices to one of community mailboxes. This conversation, I understand, may have been approved and may be enacted in the fairly near future.

Unless I am mistaken, this same proposal was made a few years ago and was rejected by about 70 per cent of those responding. It appears that public consultation is not one of the long suits for this current council.

Having run for council, I seem to remember one of the New Directions slogans on their signs as being "Open Government"; I assume that the "not" part must have washed off in the rain.

Such a fundamental change in mail service, which affects virtually everybody in the area, deserves to be vetted in the public forum and not be made behind closed doors at, apparently, the whim of a few special interest groups.

Larry McLennan


Vote no to shopping spree


On Feb. 26 the Squamish residents and taxpayers will have the choice to vote yes or no to a $20-million shopping spree for various amenities. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have it all, some might say, rather than pay for one project at a time? The real questions are; which amenity will be first on the list? At what cost? How and by whom will the project be managed and maintained after completion? As we know, user fees do not pay the full cost of running these municipal facilities.

There will be very little information on specific projects in this $20-million referendum, we are told, because spending large amounts on planning would be a waste if it is defeated. In other words the taxpayer will be asked to sign a blank cheque, or rather, 20 of them. The annual costs will be a lot more than the "price of a few pizzas" suggested by Mayor Ian Sutherland. (A comment which, by the way, I saw as an insult to the people in this town who make a living selling pizzas.)

Very few homes in Squamish are now in the mayor's average assessment range of $260,000 - a mythical amount indeed. Most are more, some now a lot more, and with that our property taxes have gone up. As an example, my own taxes increased last year by almost $500. What will the increase be this year even without extra taxes for these proposed new amenities? Look also at the cost overruns on such facilities as our new police building, and possibly the Adventure Centre. Let's build one amenity at a time and not get ourselves caught in a financial quagmire of municipal debt. We must vote no to the referendum on Feb. 26.

Astrid Andersen


Can't afford blank cheque


Unbelievable - now a referendum to borrow over $20 million! Our council forges ahead with elaborate schemes but seems to have little concept of money management.

It will take an exorbitant amount to pay for the cleanup of the contaminated waterfront lands and the Adventure Centre is another concern. Not only is provincial funding not certain, federal funding, contingent upon a March 2005 completion, is also in question. In addition, we still are not aware of what the total construction cost will be - but, it is a sure bet it will certainly be more than what was budgeted for.

While reading through Mayor Sutherland's flowery phrases regarding this glorified information centre, I believe he is dreaming if he believes it will generate revenue. Will the coffee/food component be able to compete with McDonald's, Tim Hortons, White Spot, A&W etc. all nearby and the many other dining facilities a short distance away? The few souvenirs sold will not begin to offset the operational costs. Now council has a referendum in the works to borrow over $20 million and will not provide a cost breakdown of the public amenities of even an assurance of what would be constructed.

When listing all of the proposed amenities, they conveniently chose items which would appeal to most everyone in the district, thereby assuring themselves of an affirmative vote. A yes vote will certainly not guarantee the voter that their hoped-for item will be constructed. Are Squamish taxpayers really gullible enough to borrow over $20 million to provide council with a blank cheque?

I also question the reason for ramming this referendum through. I heard Sutherland mention something about it costing more later - is it not fairly costly to hold a separate referendum at this time when we are slated to go to the polls in November?

Although I would have preferred the proposed amenities over the white elephants we now are burdened with, we cannot add to our debt load until we can be guaranteed of funding for the previous blunders.

This is certainly an example of the problem with having the majority of council on the same wavelength - there is not enough pro and con discussion. Proposals seem to be rushed through and voted on with little foresight. Long-time residents are familiar with the lament of the exodus of friends leaving Squamish - "we can't afford to live here anymore!"

Reita Doak


Dialogue cafés proposed


Some of the best discussion on local issues happens in the coffee rooms at work and coffee shops in our town - sober discussion that is. I would like to introduce an idea that attempts to harness that idea power through a forum to gather local opinion: the Coffeehouse Community Forum.

There are five businesses willing to support the idea. The plan is to form groups of 10 to 12 people to sit down for two to four meetings discussing a topic. The last meeting to list consensus views and opposition opinions in brief point form.

We will then transcribe and produce a newsletter with all the groups and opinions listed. The intention is to distribute this paper through the participating businesses.

Sounds good? Want to have your say? The topic is the upcoming referendum on borrowing $20 million, The time is very tight so let's get busy! The deadline is Friday, Feb. 11 and 604-898-1560 is the number to sign up for a group or to volunteer skills or services.

The participating businesses are: Chef Big D's from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, Pause Café from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday (starting Feb. 3), Mountain Burger House from 5:00 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, Eagle's Coffee Grounds From 10 a.m. To 12 p.m and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday To Friday, and Sunwolf Outdoor Centre Tuesday to Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.

With the participation and support of our community I will do my best to achieve the goals of distributing local opinion through public participation in an open forum.

Riun Blackwell


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