A $4,000 mountain bike is stolen from right in front of a Squamish business. Thousands of dollars of climbing equipment are stolen from a vehicle parked in Squamish. The police are called in response to these thefts, and they proceed to inform the citizens who have been ripped off that there is nothing they can do about it. They refuse to investigate. These are just two of many examples.
The ripped-off citizens are ticked off at the lack of will of the police to do anything at all, so they launch their own investigations. In short order, they have discovered where the stolen goods are. Not only that, but it appears to be incredibly easy for these citizens to identify where a lot of stolen goods in Squamish are located. These citizens then proceed to successfully recover their stolen property. The police inform these "victims" that they're lucky that they didn't get charged withtrespass-related offences when they confronted thethieves in order to have their stolen property returned to their rightful owners.
Yet these same citizens are stopped by the police for driving without a seatbeltor going 10 km/h over the speed limit, and are treated like they are criminals. Where are the priorities? Where is the will to deal effectively, or at all, with the criminal element in Squamish? Why do we hear the policesaying that they know who the criminals are and where the stolen property is, but that they are powerless to anything to do anything about it? Who's in charge anyway?
As Edward Abbey wrote, "No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets."
BIA too big for comfort
For the last couple of years I have been hearing rumors about the Business Improvement Area (BIA) proposed for Downtown Squamish. I paid little attention, thinking that it did not concern my property on the south end of Second Avenue. I was surprised and dismayed to receive a map of the BIA, the boundaries of which extend south to Westminster St. and include my property.I have read all the literature associated with the BIA, and I have concluded that the services offered are of no benefit to either myself or any of my tenants. Being land rich and money poor, I concluded that the extra taxes I would be required to pay as a result of this program would constitute a sizable hardship.
Accordingly, I paid a visit to Dan McRae at the Squamish Sustainable Development Corporation, informed him of my plight, and asked that the south boundary of the BIA be moved north half a block so that my property would not be encompassed. Mr. McRae informed me that he didn't think this was possible, and referred me to Trudy Coates, at the District office, who confirmed that the boundaries were immutable at this point in time.
I informed Trudy that not only would I be petitioning against the establishment of the BIA, but that, in order to protect my own interests, I felt compelled to do what I could to defeat the proposal by campaigning against it. I asked her for the list of affected property owners used in the mailing of the information. She told me that I was welcome to extract the list myself from the property assessment rolls, but that the parsed list of property owners affected by the BIA would not be furnished, even though my tax dollars were used to compile it.
The BIA may well be the best way to perk up our faded downtown. I do resent, however, the fact that the government of the District of Squamish has forced me into a position where I must take action towards the possible detriment of my fellow business people.
I have sought legal advice on this matter, and my council is particularly interested in the methodology of the survey conducted in July and August of last year by Community Futures, how the boundary was determined, and how the seemingly illogical decision to exclude the two gateway malls from the BIA was arrived at.
In conclusion, I humbly apologize to those business people who may be affected by my course of action. Believe me, I did my best to avoid this.
Peter B. Legere
Froslev clarifies comment
Regarding the front-page story, "Residents clash over recovery house," in the March 17th edition of The Chief, I would like to clarify comments and a quote attributed to me.
While I did attend the March 9 meeting at Municipal Hall regarding the drug and alcohol recovery house, I did not speak at that meeting, although readers may have assumed that I was speaking at the meeting.
Rather, in a casual conversation elsewhere, a news reporter asked me what I thought of this issue, and I responded that this will most certainly be a case of a "not in my Brackendale backyard" issue. I did not indicate that I would not support such a house, however.
For the record, I fully support a drug and alcohol transition residence in Brackendale.