Choosing topics for Council Corner is always challenging because of the volume and complexity of the issues we are dealing with.
Not only is it difficult to pick one issue from choices like the Regional Growth Strategy, Official Community Plan, development issues, boundary expansion, infrastructure upgrades, Olympic challenges, organizational management or recent district milestones, but it is also tricky to condense the analysis to 500 words.
On the other hand, even if all of the reports, studies, policies and data on these issues were published, it is unlikely that many would have the time to read through these volumes. Communication is therefore a balancing act.
The district must make information available without creating information overload, which could cause essential information to be overlooked.
Two weeks ago the district was involved in a mock emergency exercise called Operation Hush. It was based on the premise that there was a breach of the Daisy Lake Dam.
One of the challenges that we identified during this exercise was that it was time consuming and cumbersome to advise residents living down stream of the emergency. If the situation were real, lives would be at stake.
The methods available to us presently to alert residents during an emergency are using local media and having emergency responders go door-to-door. None of these methods are ideal. Another means of communication that we are developing is the mayor's email list.
The goal is to have an email address for all residents of Squamish in one database so we can provide information immediately in the case of an emergency. It also allows us to provide regular updates regarding district business.
The mayor's email list, which started in January, has almost 1,000 subscribers to date. We have received positive feedback regarding this communication, which generally includes council briefs, news releases and emergency notifications.
I would sincerely request that every resident of Squamish subscribe to this service in order to receive information on a timely basis. We attempt to make our emails factual, concise and relevant. You can be removed from the list if ever you feel the correspondence is no longer useful to you.
To subscribe, simply email email@example.com and ask to be added to the mayor's email list.
In addition, I would encourage you to make the district's new website www.squamish.ca one of your favourites. It has a wealth of valuable information and it is updated continuously.
Information on every aspect of district business from operations to protective services as well as an array of plans, studies, news and complete council agenda packages can be found on the site. There is even a link to watch council meetings live at home.
I also encourage you to provide feedback and voice concerns via the website because you can do so at your convenience and it allows for an immediate paper trail.
We need your input and help to make wise decisions for our community. Please stay engaged.