Do you consider yourself a progressive candidate?
To me, “progressive” in the political sense means to be acting for the progress of a society as a whole, rather than the singular benefit of one person or one group. Of course, that leads to many other questions, like ‘What are we progressing toward?’, ‘How do we define society as a whole?’, ‘How do you balance the good of the individual with the greater good of the society?’ I do not consider myself either progressive or not progressive. That is not to say that I see myself in some middle ground, I simply have not reflected very deeply on how my beliefs map to the complex and varied definitions of progressive.
What is your vision for development?
I believe that a fiscally and environmentally sustainable infrastructure is one of the core responsibilities of municipal government. To be fiscally sound, infrastructure needs to be shared by more rather than fewer people. As a simple example, a 100m municipal water line servicing 3 homes costs (approximately) the same as a 100m water line servicing a set of 3 duplexes. In this example, density increases fiscal sustainability. Environmental sustainability also generally favours greater density as it reduces the footprint we each make on the planet.
I believe that it is important for Councillors to recognize that they are coming into an existing plan and framework for development in Squamish. I believe we need to be guided by the OCP and the REFMP, rather than reinvent the wheel. A lot of good work has gone into these documents that should not be thrown away, but community consultation must be continued and improved. In order to have clear communication in community consultation on density, I think it will be important for the District to have neighbourhood plans and visualization tools that will let folks 'see' what is being proposed.
What is your stance on tourism and what actions will you take to support your stance?
Tourism is an important economic driver for Squamish but it should not significantly compromise or exclude the enjoyment of our community spaces. A simple example of how this could be supported is having ‘locals’ prices at community facilities like Brennan Park. But more important than my ideas about tourism are the ideas of Tourism Squamish. They are the tourism experts. So one action I could take to support tourism is to support Tourism Squamish initiatives, provided those initiatives do not have a significant negative impact on local community spaces.
Do you feel that traffic congestion is an issue?
An issue compared to what? For whom? Compared to Vancouver, traffic congestion is not an issue in Squamish. Compared to Pemberton, maybe it is an issue. I hope you see my point here, this is not a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. I believe (although I have not looked at data on this) that Cleveland from Hwy 99 to downtown is the most congested area of town. I do not have a specific plan to tackle this because I have not looked at a detailed cost estimate for any proposal. I do believe a ’second entrance to downtown’ is a positive thing, but not at the expense of fiscally and environmentally sustainable infrastructure.
Do you feel that there is adequate parking available downtown?
No, I do not believe there is an adequate variety of parking available downtown. I believe we should have pay parking options downtown. Visitors to downtown should have the option to pay for convenient parking.
What areas of environmental stewardship are most important to you?
Locally (ie. within the district boundaries), we need to balance environmental stewardship with things like tourism, affordable housing, transportation, and recreation. One opportunity for environmental stewardship that will be coming for the current Council is landfill waste. Our landfill will be full in the next five (or so) years. I believe that there is an opportunity for Squamish to do a better job in waste diversion and recycling by partnering with salvage companies and not-for-profits.
What do you see as realistic solutions to the childcare shortage in Squamish?
This problem is wider than Squamish. That is not to say the Council should put up it’s hands up and do nothing, but there is a large component of provincial and federal lobbying that needs to happen here. Candidates like Christina Walsh that have experience in federal and provincial government will be well-suited to lobby effectively. At the District level, I think that the Childcare Action Plan, provides a much more insightful and detailed account of what needs to be done than I can. Basically, supporting in-home childcare businesses, including childcare spaces in new commercial and residential developments, and having subsidized housing for childcare workers are all ways to help reduce the childcare shortage.
How do you feel about van life?
I believe that people should be able to choose to live in a non-fixed structure with dignity and that people who live in a community have a responsibility to contribute to the financial burden of maintaining the community (if they have the means to do so). Finding a solution for folks to live in non-fixed structures will be a benefit to both them and the community.
I believe it is important to distinguish between those who choose to live in a non-fixed structure (“van-lifer”) and those who are unable to support themselves in any structure (traditionally referred to as “homeless”) because I believe there is a range of different responsibilities on our community to care for folks with different levels of need. For example, our community obligations to support organizations like Under One Roof are different from our obligations to support a facility for folks who choose to live in a van. Both of these cases are different from “visitors" who do not self-identify as members of the community.
I do not know the optimal solution, I would need to dig much further into the benefits and consequences of the different options. At first glance, I see a parallel between someone choosing to live on their boat in a marina and someone choosing to live in their van in a land-based marina. It seems to me that there needs to be something between a mobile home park and a campground.
Should be lease Municipal Hall?
You can see that my highest priority is “financially and environmentally sustainable infrastructure”. I do not see how leasing Municipal hall is financially sustainable. Let me draw a personal finance analogy here: if my house was falling down and I could choose to fix my house or sell it and use the money to rent a nice place with a swimming pool - I would fix my house. Municipal hall is our “house” and the reason the current Council looked into leasing was to be able to upgrade Brennan Park (with expanded pool and ice) while also upgrading Municipal hall. I agree that Council should look at the option, but I don’t see how it is reasonable in the long term.