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The beginning of another great year in Squamish

September is my favourite month, and not just because of the warm late summer weather and crisp evenings. For me September signals the start of a new year, more so than January.

September is my favourite month, and not just because of the warm late summer weather and crisp evenings. For me September signals the start of a new year, more so than January. As students return to school council also resumes session after our summer break. This fall brings many fresh starts alongside familiar traditions.

One exciting step for our community is the welcoming of a new Chief Administrative Officer. The CAO, or "City Manager" is the key leadership position in the District of Squamish organization.

He or she is responsible for implementing council's policies, managing and inspiring our staff, ensuring operations and projects are carried out in an efficient manner and engaging the community in our decisions.

I am very pleased with the appointment of Kevin Ramsay to this important position. Having a CAO with Kevin's credentials and abilities will benefit our community in many ways.

Squamish is also fortunate for the fresh starts in our economic sector even in these challenging times. Significant new businesses that will soon open include London Drugs, Toyota and Holiday Inn, all of which bring jobs and a higher profile to our community as a business destination.

However, the ability of local business to expand and to support other sectors of our community depends on your patronage. In particular, we need to continue supporting our downtown business core while our longer term plans for downtown densification and the associated vibrancy evolve. Perhaps it's time to renew that commitment to shopping locally.

This fall will also finally bring the creation of an independent destination marketing organization to lead our developing tourism industry. Tourism Squamish will incorporate as a society with a board populated mainly by local tourism operators. It will also have a sustainable funding source with the introduction of our additional hotel room tax.

Another landmark event will be the unveiling of the business and land use plan for the community owned SODC lands. The management team has been working hard to finalize a comprehensive plan that reflects our aspirations for that unique oceanfront peninsula. This plan will be the culmination of many years of hard work by a host of volunteers and community groups.

Also very exciting is the opening of the long awaited new Squamish Seniors Centre. Your use and support of that facility will be critical to its success.

Completion of the Sea to Sky Highway project will make our corridor drive both scenic and safe for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

Canada's games are happening in our backyard and it is not too late to become a volunteer or home host for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

"Glowing Hearts" may sound cliché until you have heard the stories of someone involved in hosting at Calgary or another Olympic Games. If you have ever considered participating I would encourage you to take the step to becoming a part of history.

Oh, and remember to celebrate the growing list of Olympic hopeful athletes who are choosing to make Squamish home.

But most of all, just take the time to enjoy the traditions that make us Squamish. Volunteer to help the more than a thousand youth starting minor soccer, hockey and other sports in the next few weeks.

Don't forget the always popular Brackendale Fall Fair which returns on Sept. 12. Speaking of Brackendale, the eagles will be back in a few short months. It should be another great year in Squamish.

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