On Nov. 19 people across British Columbia will go to the polls to elect municipal councils, regional district representatives and school trustees. And while civic elections are usually less celebrated than provincial or federal elections, preparations for the 2010 Olympics, growth, escalating costs of living and several other issues in Sea to Sky corridor communities suggest that this years elections may generate more interest than usual.
Some context: The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District was the sixth fastest growing regional district in the province in 2003 (+0.9 per cent), despite the fact that Lillooets population was shrinking. Pemberton was the second fastest growing municipality in B.C. in 2003, with the population increasing 7.3 per cent. Squamishs population is expected to grow to 20,000 by 2010. Whistler is coming off four consecutive winters of declining tourist numbers, but is working on some large development projects as it prepares to host the Olympics. And many see the next three years as the critical period for Olympic and post-Olympic preparations.
There will be plenty of opportunities to hear from the candidates in the next six weeks. But before the campaigning starts in earnest Pique Newsmagazine asked a cross-section of voters to tell us what they thought were the issues in their towns. These voters dont speak for everyone, and the list of issues they identified is not exhaustive. But their thoughts provide a foundation for understanding what matters in Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish in the fall of 2005.