Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the greatest show on earth. You'll even want to bring the kids in for this one, 'cuz it's gonna be a doozy. For those of you that read this page every week, it's the moment you've all been waiting for.: municipal election time.
As I type this there's still six days for someone to say "me too!" But with the announcement that Greg Richmond has thrown his baseball hat into the ring, it's pretty obvious what that this battle is all about. Woodchips.
Now I realize that memories are short, especially politically (War with Iraq? Does anyone remember Bin Laden?) Plus, since many are just tuning in, I believe a Coles Notes history is in order.
Three years of baffling politics can unfortunately be summed up with this one issue. I must stress that this is but a fraction of the municipal jackassery that has run rampant but this was the one that really solidified the community. You see, Greg Richmond wanted to bring a woodchip and hog fuel storage facility to Squamish. That's cool, we could use the jobs. But one glitch: they wanted to put it at the end of the windiest waterfront street in B.C., Cleveland Avenue. The town was furious, but our current Mayor and council (With the exception of Raj Kahlon, the departed Shelley Smith and Rick King) insisted on defending this as a land use (i.e. forestry) issue and voted for it.
Sadly it became obvious that every issue was a forestry issue. Unfortunately when your only tool is a hammer, all your problems become nails. And instead of embracing another tool they picked up their hammer, drew a line in their sandbox, and like it or not, everyone was forced to pick a side. Are you for the woodchip location or are you against forestry?
Feeling rejected and ignored a citizen group CHIPS (including Ian Sutherland) was formed and took the district to court over the issue. The judge laughed and said in no uncertain terms that the idea was preposterous.
So they realize their error and apologize, right? No. Corinne Lonsdale, Paul Lalli, Cheryl Bass, Rick King and Wendy Magee spat on Squamish pride again and voted yes on the first two readings of the rezoning hearings. Then we have a historical public meeting with hundreds in attendance literally shaking the foundations saying "no". So they finally listened to you, right? No sirree, they were all set to go when the main money pulled out because of the town's obvious uproar.
Thus ends our history lesson. Next time we'll discuss present issues like the allegation that Liberal MLA Ted "Screw you Squamish" Nebbeling and Lalli are in cahoots on election strategies and tactics. Why would Paul Lalli team up with a government that has closed our courthouse, destroyed our health care and threatened to close our road? We'll have to wait and see.
At this time I would like to finally answer the
$1.50 question. Will I once again be running for municipal council? Unfortunately,
Bryan Hammock Raiser will not be on the ballot this November. Life changes
drastically in three years, and I must be fair to all those involved.
Realistically I have to get my home affairs in order before I can tackle
the affairs of an abused town. But I honestly believe that there is a
lot of heart and soul on this ballot, and Lord knows that's just what
this town needs.