Skip to content


Editor, The idea of whether the timing of this referendum proposal is right or wrong is really not as relevant as to whether this party has earned the trust of this community and that we can accept the costs as correct.


The idea of whether the timing of this referendum proposal is right or wrong is really not as relevant as to whether this party has earned the trust of this community and that we can accept the costs as correct. Council with its simple strategy of divide and conquer has tried to muddy the real issue here. It is not between supporters and opposition; it is whether or not we can be sure to believe in what they say.

Past history is a very good indicator of future history so I took a look at past history. The new police station was over budget, the Adventure Centre will be over budget, the Nexen landsthe book is still open on that. The past history of this council isn't exactly exemplary when it comes to capital spending.

Why would New Directions think I or anyone else would vote for a proposal put forward by a group of council members that haven't demonstrated any fiduciary control in the past?

Any management group with a track record like this who presented a half-baked proposal like this to its stake holders would be quickly shown the door. I can't understand how this got any further than the back of a napkin in a bar. If this council did something besides the promise of bringing more minimum-wage jobs to Squamish and had a better track record on capital projects, I might be more inclined to support it. But instead they have done nada, but they do criticize others.

I believe the council is counting on the historical low turnout for referendums. So with a turnout of just 20 per cent a vote of 10 per cent for would approve this spending proposal. I urge all eligible voters to turn this down.

Dave Colledge

BrackendaleVoting 'no' will mean more information


Whoooaaaaa.. What is happening to Squamish? Mayor Sutherland is like a runaway train and the Squamsh Five are too scared or stupid to stop him.

The RCMP building: was this project within budget, or even close? I'm also given to understand that there are major problems, leaking etc. Is anyone accountable?

The infamous Adventure Centre currently under construction: soil tests showed that the land was unstable. It should have been pile driven and a suspended slab put in place to prevent future cracking or shifting - neither has been done. If this isn't bad enough, council in its wisdom decided to waive bonding; there will be no accountability for contractors. Nice eh?

For us taxpayers that is. Further, this project was started prior to the commitment of capital funding and it's already over budget (I think that term "over budget" should somehow be incorporated in our slogan for Squamish instead of Sea to Sky). And surely a project of this magnitude should have gone to referendum; we the taxpayers are certainly going to pay for it.

The Nexen lands. We now have an additional $500,000 being proposed for the 2005 budget. Who is going to pay? Somehow I don't think we'll see a lineup in the near future of businesses wanting to locate there, and, because of the possible ecological/environmental problems, will Squamish be on the hook forever and a day?

The Land Reserve Fund: these monies which have accumulated over the past 30-40 years (maybe longer) and have been handled with great respect by previous councils are now almost depleted. Our present council spends with no regard for tomorrow. Partnerships. Our mayor wants partnerships. God help us if there are more out there like the one obviously proposed to the Baptist Church.

Not only do they get the land for free but $1,000,000 of my tax dollars and more than likely bridge financing to boot. Maybe, just maybe, if all the churches jump on the run-away train we'll all go to glory How does one qualify to be a partner? It would appear that all you need is a private audience with the mayor and a sack big enough to carry the money away.

Back to the referendum. What do we really know? Where did the magic figure of $20,000,000 come from? Why is the funding not being done through the regional district? Not only would this method not affect Squamish's borrowing power but it would also mean that people who live outside the district, i.e. Britannia Beach etc. will help pay for the amenities - they certainly use them all. We haven't been given any breakdown of capital/operating costs and with council's record you can bet it'll be over budget.

So, what will be built first and finished, and what project(s) will fall by the wayside?

There will be intense lobbying by the various groups and whoever makes the most noise will obviously have their facility built.

Think about it taxpayers, there is no shame in voting no. We did it the first time around Brennan Park, the RCMP building and the Library issues. As a result, we were given more information before being asked to vote again. The mayor can still have his referendum; let him do it in conjunction with the November election (less costly) after he and his cohorts have done their homework.Hopefully, at this point council will also have a breakdown of the real costs to us (one pizza a month based on a mythical property value of $261,297? Did I miss something in accounting classes in business college?)Mayor Sutherland has promised something for everyone but there are no guarantees for anyone. To my way of thinking there's barely enough money for half the projects.

Just for the record, and from my experience, all information has to be up front in order to qualify for a pre-approved mortgage

Ellen M. Elliott


Willing to pay extra taxes for opportunities


I would like to add my word on this proposed amenities borrowing bylaw referendum. DOS has an operating and capital budget of approximately $16 million each year. This annual budget leaves little left over for big picture items like the proposed seniors' centre.

I endorse this bylaw as I know how slow and cumbersome bureaucratic processes are. Federal and provincial government grants and private (read corporate) partnerships can only be realized if we're ready. Council is anxiously awaiting provincial funding for the new tourism/adventure centre. Already, federal and private funding have contributed well over one million dollars towards this building.

The leap of faith (in receiving provincial dollars) could have been avoided had we the dollars and planning ready to go. Still, the vision to buy this property to locate our tourist info centre is fantastic regardless of its rushed schedule. Exploit Squamish; show promotional movies, put in a family play park etc. and get people off the highway. The speed at which the Olympic bandwagon will roll over our town will have us looking a little foolish if we miss the boat on funding opportunities. What about a second sheet of ice? Could this be upgraded for the Paralympics? I think this is only possible if we partner with the 2010 Olympics organization. What about partnering with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways to complete our own paved valley trail? I'm fairly sure that MOTH won't do it if we can't get our act together. Let's not forget the swimming pool referendum. It just passed by a narrow margin. Yet, like the other proposed amenities, who can argue that this facility isn't an absolute must for a healthy community? Let's be ready to provide the community infrastructure and amenities (cost effectively) before we lose the opportunities.

I'm not rich, but I'm willing to pay extra taxes to make it happen.

John Harvey


Squamish park world-class


I visited the Loggers Sports Grounds when in Squamish last September. I was astounded at the quality of the work done on the carving "The History of BC Forests". Members of council and all persons concerned are to be congratulated on having the forethought to start such a wonderful project, which when finished and set in a display will benefit the Squamish community as a whole, when people from all over the world come to see this "Storybook Park". World class work. Well done.

W. (Bill) Douglas

Surfside, Batemans Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Council spending out of control


Did anybody else raise their eyebrows when they read the small article in The Chief Feb. 4 about Cliff Miller and SORCA receiving $15,000 (yes I said $15,000!!!) to map bike trails. I would like to know what is going on with council and our tax money.

Is this some kind of a joke? It reminds me of the Trudeau era grants to hippies to study how to grow pot! Bike riding is a pleasure activity, not a necessity and should be supported by the people who partake in it.

Dose the Test of Metal not charge entrance fees? Can that not pay for it? Volunteers should do the work. I have been mapping dirt bike trails for years with nothing more than a topo map worth $15 and a GPS worth $200.

There's something wrong here! Is council Cliff Miller's and SORCA's private piggy bank so they can get paid to ride their bikes this summer?What's at issue here is a council that is obviously out of control with spending tax money. The Adventure Centre is seriously over budget, and is nothing more than a new Chamber of Commerce on the way. The emergency services building is over budget and in need of repair - just check out the cracks from settlement in the brick walls as you drive by.

And now council wants to borrow $20 million for recreation for which all of us will pay for with higher taxes. Can they be trusted to bring anything in on budget?

How about spending tax money on what is really needed, like clean safe drinking water for Garibaldi Highlands, so they don't have to boil their water every time we get a heavy rain.

Or fixing the run-down roads and installing sidewalks. Hire another building inspector, there is only one and he inspects everything. People should be concerned and ask how their money is being spent. Will the good times go on forever?

Hugo Dennis


Merrill & Ring show their mettle


In an ideal world, there would be no logging, mining or other natural resource extraction. However, in the real world, our economy has always been based on its resources.

Forestry practices, like any resource sector, are continuing to evolve and change as our knowledge base on best practices management skills increase. I believe Merrill & Ring has been, and continues to be, a leader in sustainability and a responsible corporate citizen to the Squamish area.

For years, Don Corson of Merrill & Ring has been an active supporter of SORCA and a financial contributor to the Test of Metal. Over the years, we have built extensive trail networks throughout their property with their blessing. Furthermore, M&R has been consulting us on our needs and requirements to maintain and improve the trails on their property for use by all Squamish recreational enthusiasts. They are even trying to plan their Squamish Highlands neighbourhood around our trails and the Test of Metal course!

SORCA and the Squamish Trails Society are looking forward to a long and positive relationship with Merrill & Ring for the continued prominence of the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada" and trails for all to enjoy.

Cliff Miller

SORCA, President and Test of Metal Executive Director

Let's talk business improvement


If not a business improvement area (BIA), then what?

Do we have a problem in the downtown portion of Squamish? Yes! Do businesses open and close frequently there? Yes! Is there a lot of empty commercial space there? Yes! Does commercial development elsewhere in the town affect it? Yes! Does it have some slum landlords? Yes! Do people feel safe in the backyards/courtyards? No! Are the streets busy with shoppers? No! Do you hear people say, "you just have to visit downtown Squamish"? No! Is there entertainment down there for the desired visitor? No!I grew up in a town with a population of 15,000. Most of the residents, including my grandfather, were involved in the logging business along the waterfronts.

As that industry dissipated, the logging camps became fishing lodges, and finally grand scale resorts with the likes of Louis Armstrong playing jazz at them in the summertime.

The winter activities expanded to include skiing and snow machine sports. More recently, one of these resorts spawned Shania Twain! Does that data sound familiar? (well...maybe not Shania!)

What do I think of downtown Squamish? I have always described it to friends as "Banff with an ocean attached," but no one is taking advantage of the natural opportunities that lie within its boundaries.

I spent many years living in Banff and skiers/boarders who drove up to five hours to get there considered themselves to have "arrived at their ski cabin" even though they still had to get up and drive 45 minutes to ski the next day. Squamish is listed as 40 minutes from Whistler, so why don't we accept the economic development which is on our doorstep?

Let's get the BIA information on the table before we vote! Isn't that what democracy is all about? The last attempt was over a decade ago so there have probably been a few changes in its format. If you are determined to vote "no" at present, then what do you propose to improve the downtown? Please join us and participate in discussion. With the international media attention that we can expect from the Olympics, there is no better time to polish our noses and grab all the free publicity we can.

We won't need to worry about Wal-Mart if the downtown is designed and upgraded properly...they won't be able to compete with us!

Squamish has a heart...don't unplug the life support before it has a chance to beat!

Connie Spiers

Squamish town centre stakeholder

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks