There are only so many hours in a day. Eight working, eight sleeping, three (at least) feeding and cleaning, leaving precious little time for yourself let alone your community. Add two hours to commute and you’ve got the classic curse of the bedroom community. It’s not impossible to overcome, you just need to be that much more committed to making the time work.
While bedroom communities aren’t without their challenges, it’s nothing compared to the real threat posed by (insert evil music) vacation homes. They seriously hurt Whistler, but will Squamish suffer the same fate? Occupied scant months of the year, these owners are not an asset to the community. Sure they raise property values and drop some cash for the time they’re here, but they’re not helping out at the soup kitchen, volunteering for the Triathlon, Test of Metal, Logger Sports, Soccer Fest or the countless other community driven events.
In our world, no one can stop people from buying second homes. It’s obvious, the word Squamish is already out there. National Post subscribers would have noticed Squamish as the cover girl on “Resorts magazine” which advertises vacation homes. Inside it’s just a big add for a realtor who (you owe me) will remain nameless. “Ice-blond hair in a sleek up-do and fresh-off-the-runway DKNY summerwhites, (name removed) epitomizes urban cool.” As she rightly raves about selling Squamish there are pictures of surfing and snorkeling in a bikini.
That’s fantastic, I’m glad the yuppies are excited about Squamish. However, we must let people know we’re no longer cheap shmuckleheads. With industry gone, we have to make up the tax hit somewhere so why not here? Whether we increase the tax for absentee home owners, or cut a break for the working stiffs living here, something has got to change. Let’s send the message, if you want to buy here but not participate, it’s going to cost you.
And while we’re on the topic of making the community killers pay, let’s talk about big boxes. Wait, this isn’t a Mal-Wart is evil segment. That discussion is over, with the facts in plain view. The high cost of low prices aside, this is about forcing Mal-Wart, and those that follow, to give back to the community whether they want to or not with a big box tax. Simple to implement, it’s akin to restaurants adding the gratuity automatically with big groups. As any server knows, the bigger the numbers the better the chances of someone not pulling their weight. We could also be looking at the tax benefits of being a resort municipality, but that’s another blackened fish to fry.
I’ll end with a salute and cheers to easily the best community grocery store in Squamish, Marketplace IGA (aka Shane and Nikki). Almost every community event had huge support from these pillars of the community. They gave until it literally hurt and for that Squamish owes an ever lasting thank you and all the best!