Pique, Nov. 10, 2011
The candidates for mayor generated the only tense moments of the evening at the largest all candidates meeting planned for Squamish.
The Brennan Park auditorium was packed Monday (Nov. 7) with Squamish residents keen to learn more about a big group of election candidates vying for political positions for the next three years.
Auli Parviainen challenged decisions made by previous councils after Michael Goodman, the proponent of the stalled Paradise Trails neighbourhood proposal, wanted to know if the candidates support setting guaranteed response times for developers.
Parviainen did public relations work for Goodman's project until she decided to run for mayor. She didn't disclose that during the meeting but has previously been open about her involvement with the large-lot equestrian proposal on the northern border of Squamish. Parviainen said she would implement Goodman's idea if elected.
Kirkham defended the current council by pointing out that Goodman's project was initiated with the previous council. He said the previous mayor and councillors passed third reading with many complicated conditions attached. Kirkham added that the service Squamish initiative partially addresses Goodman's concerns.
After the candidates for mayor wrapped up their session the 23 councillor candidates took over the stage.
Each candidate gave opening remarks followed by a question and answer session that involved choreographed shuffling between two rows of chairs behind a table equipped with 12 microphones.
The moderator, Denise Imbeau, allowed the discussion to go 15 minutes beyond the scheduled finish time to ensure each candidate got a fair amount of exposure.
Many members of the audience attended the meeting because most of the 23 people running for councillor are either new to the community or new to local politics.
Only three candidates for councillor are incumbents and another five have run at some point in the past while the other 15 are running in their first campaign ever.
The meeting opened with the candidates running for the two available school trustee positions in Squamish outlining their views to a half-filled room. Incumbents Rick Price and Andrea Beaubien outlined their platforms as did new candidates Alice Guss and Bianca Peters.
Imbeau, a former chamber of commerce manager, said after the meeting that a few candidates stuck out for her and she said a few more left her disappointed.
"Typically, overall I felt confident that all of their hearts were in the right place," she said.
Of the people Imbeau felt didn't perform well at the meeting she said she found herself wishing the election was more like a reality television show.
"I wish it was Survivor and I could vote people right off," she said. "You know, the tribe has spoken."
Michael Quesnel, a business owner who attended the meeting, said he went in with a strong belief of who will get his votes and left more confident in his opinion.
"There were certain people that were really communicating up there and there were other people who were just using the forum to pat themselves on the back," said Quesnel.
He said he hasn't fully decided on his councillor picks but he knows who his choice is for mayor.
The meeting was captured on video and will be published at MySquamish.com today (Nov. 10).
For profiles of all the candidates go to www.piquenewsmagazine.com and click on the 2011 Election icon. For more on the candidates for mayor of Squamish see pages 25 and 26.