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Squamish mayoral race more of a walk

Squamish’s mayoral sash is not so much a matter of campaigning as it is a matter of time, and it’s a safe bet that Greg Gardner is resting pretty easy.

The two-year councillor declared his intentions in the summer, when his chances were still anyone’s guess, if only because no one else had made their candidacy known. While Ron Bahm publicly considered the ticket, he opted for a council run instead. When the nomination deadline had come and gone, Gardner found himself in a three-way race with Terrill Patterson and John Erickson, neither of whom is considered a strong opponent.

Still, though confidence comes easy to Gardner, he’s been careful not to appear overly assured. During last week’s all-candidates debates, he used words like “if” and “should,” rather than the off-putting language of “when.” A good move given one of his central planks is nailed to the theme of communication.

“It’s a two way process,” he said. “They call it dialogue for a reason.”

To his mind, strategies like the district’s Create the Oceanfront are examples of effective communication, though Gardner would like to see the public showing up to open houses in greater numbers. While he insists there’s no substitute for face-to-face communication, he admits open houses aren’t for anyone. In addition to the planning department’s Oceanfront Facebook and homepage, Gardner sees a role for digital chat rooms and other means of electronic communication.

So far, he’s been putting paid to his face-to-face beliefs. Though the mayoral debate is not scheduled until Nov. 10, Gardner contributed to both of last week’s debates. Erickson and Patterson, both absent from other twists in the campaign trail, didn’t show up.

While Patterson could not be reached by press time, Erickson said he’s running because district hall is an antidemocratic institution.

“I’m not allowed to question anything when I sit there,” he said. “Why are you going to sit there and listen to them dummies when you’re not allowed to put a point of order on something on the agenda?”

Erickson said he wasn’t aware of the first debate, which was put on by the Arts Council. Though he’s something of a regular face in the municipal foyer, he seldom attends an entire meeting. He cites in camera segments as the reason, claiming they run too late for him to get home safely.

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