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...And The "Winner" is... (02.16.01)

I donšt like it but I guess things happen that way"
- Johnny Cash

Yeah, Išve been listening to a lot of Johnny lately. After last weekšs emotional rollercoaster I needed his "you think YOU have it tough" attitude over several days to set me right. So here it is one week later and what did we learn?

I learned that both sides have a lot in common. They, oh heck, WE, both care deeply and we both live in a town that canšt shake a f'd up image.Monday, Feb. 5 the town was, to say the least, intense. From the moment I got up I could feel it, and for once, other could as well. Everywhere I went people couldnšt stop talking woodchips. It was very intense. I was so nervous/ excited/scared that I almost forgot to buy snacks for the long meeting ahead. But what I, and everyone else had ready was a list of scenarios and consequential excuses for however it was to play out.

If the other side (yes, both of us) won, it was not because it was how the town felt, rather because the other side was either:
1. more organized; or
2. showed up early and filled the list, not allowing the other side to be truly counted. Well, no matter the excuses, I don't think anyone saw the final result coming. After hearing several pro-location speeches the pressure was building and eventually the place exploded. It was incredible. The amount of community participation was awe-inspiring. I am so proud of everyone who came out Monday and participated in what was truly a historic public meeting.

The statements: "You're on your own"by the Soo-coalition and the "no sir, we donšt like it"by the bulk of Squamish Chamber members certainly made the highlight reel.

The next day, (Tuesday) was unbearably intense. Išll admit I was a mess. That grapevine was throwing me around like a rag doll. Howe Sound Pulp and Paper announced they decided to pull out, rumour had it that BC Rail said they were going to move the tracks but now they wouldn't be, physical threats were running rampant and the big city media got it all on tape. It
really didn't help when all we've been living on was hearsay and conspiracy theories for the last 9 months.

Needless to say, after it was all over, Squamish went to the bar. Believe it or not, I shared a pint with both sides that evening and yet found no one celebrating. The serious lack of closure for an event this big sent both sides into uncertain territory.

Those opposed to the location now not only had a council they didn't trust, now there was people who insisted this was a forestry issue, who were mad at
people they insisted were hippie protesters. Traditionally that has not been an ideal situation. And Greg, well Greg had a pint after a long hard battle, and I couldnšt help but think this was the worst possible way for it to end. (If it has in fact, ended).
It seems council got off scot-free. There was little doubt from either side which way it was going to go. If people honestly thought Mayor and council were going to vote against it, no one would have shown up. But now what?
I'll bet Paul, (perhaps the only one interested in running again) sure hopes memories are short.

More importantly, what do we do with all this energy in the community? Now Squamish needs to answer some big questions:
1. What now?
2. In 18 months who should we have sitting in the comfy council hot seats?
3. Will the majority now be represented?
Well whatever happens, itšs crucial for everyone to keep themselves informed. The battle is far from over but I know I can sleep at night knowing that Squamish will succeed in spite of itself.

Bryan lives in Squamish, and like his community, is succeeding in spite of himself.


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