Two Developers walk down the street….
As the dust settles from the first waterfront battle now’s a good time to check out the cards left on the table. Most unusual was the wild card off the top from the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has always been a political heavyweight. Heck, the three new faces elected to Squamish council last fall were all Chamber big-wigs. In the past however, their muscle was always flexed behind the scenes, this was the first time in recent history that the Chamber vocally tried to sway public opinion. Most notable was the specter of the Chamber, led by the president of Squamish Terminals, the Oceanfront's neighbor, wading into the fight with a public forum. This is not an insult, Ron Anderson’s opinion is undeniably essential, but he obviously has to be careful no to be in conflict when speaking to waterfront development.
Through it all, a refreshing common ground was the notion that we should not be allowed to plan the waterfront with a resume that includes the RCMP building. Oddly enough Corrine Lonsdale, while agreeing that the RCMP and Adventure Center had their troubles, goes on to defend our abilities pointing to the Business Park as something done right. Wuhu? I’m not sure if Mr. Carney would agree with that. Our business park is hands-down our most embarrassing blunder. Come on, putting a hotel in an industrial park then re-naming it a business park to mix heavy industrial with big box retail while putting in a composter? That is not something to be bragging about.
On the rookie side it was good to see Greg Gardner’s hand. During the woodchip battle Greg was careful to publicly stay neutral. Not so now since he was elected on a campaign of stopping the current waterfront development plan. Greg certainly stepped it up a notch with a two page opinion ad in the paper. Previously Jeff McKenzie’s ad asked everyone to work to find a solution, but Greg’s was clear he wanted the deal stopped. I know it’s fair comment, but it just doesn’t sit right with me that a councilor should have to spend thousands of dollars to get their point across.
But back to the cards analogy. Pulling out the surprising joker was Mike Jensen. I mean he must have been bluffing when he said he never heard of the lengthy, and obscenely publicized, downtown/waterfront charette. Does he expect us to believe he went over a year without reading the local paper or taking even a passing interest in civic affairs? That would be embarrassing on too many levels. Either way, he does walk away with style points for theatrically ripping a piece of paper representing the MOU.
Being a firm believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’ I’m optimistic that the perfect solution will present itself shortly. Until then, let us muse a comment heard on the street, “Nothing changes, we’re still SND only now it’s Squamish No Direction.”