After throwing her hat into the ring ahead of last fall’s Whistler byelection, Dawn Titus is ready to hit the campaign trail once more.
On Thursday, July 26, the longtime resort resident became the latest candidate to announce her intentions to run in this year’s municipal election, slated for Oct. 20.
Titus fell short in last year’s byelection, convened to fill the council seat left vacant by the passing of Andrée Janyk. The retired schoolteacher placed third with 201 votes, behind Kate Roddick’s 269 and ultimate winner Cathy Jewett, who garnered 799 of 1,434 votes cast.
Titus, who committed to running again after last fall’s byelection, said her first foray into local politics proved a valuable lesson.
“I learned to do my homework, to be well informed, to be diplomatic, to learn to listen, and most importantly, to be persistent,” she said. “You need to develop a really strong sense of persistence when you have a belief and a desire to accomplish something.”
Now a regular attendee of municipal council meetings, Titus was inspired to delve deeper into local politics after she learned of a proposal to build an artificial turf field in Bayly Park. Titus led a push against the contentious project, questioning its price tag and environmental impact. (In a tight vote last month, council awarded two contracts to build the field totalling $2,015,900.)
In Titus’ mind, the turf field reiterated the need for more prudent spending at municipal hall.
“I had some serious concerns about the way the Gateway Loop (project) went through. Really, my primary focus has always been fiscal responsibility and how we are spending our money.”
Titus said the key tenet of her platform is to “look after locals first,” and addressing affordability, housing and transportation will be crucial to that effort.
Although supportive of the RMOW’s decision last year to add 1,000 bed units to Whistler’s affordable housing stock, Titus would like to see the timeline accelerated.
“A thousand beds in five years is too long because we’re going to lose half those (workers) and we need all of them from what I can see,” she said. “Every single business or organization is short-staffed, so it needs to be a shorter timeframe, for sure, and maybe we need to do some Band-Aid solution now to be able to keep some of those people here that have no place to live or they’re living in ridiculously unaffordable places. I’m not the fixer, I’m not even an elected person, but, boy, get me in there and that will be my focus.”
Titus would also like to see greater limits to growth as Whistler nears its approved development capacity of 61,561 bed units, a key topic of discussion throughout the public consultation period on the resort’s forthcoming update to its Official Community Plan (OCP).
“We need to figure out a way to deal with the capacity,” she said. “With this whole new OCP thing, for the last 20 years we thought we were going to see an end to bed units and the bed cap. It seems to me that that door continues to be wide open.
“There’s so much to enjoy here, but I think we all need to do whatever we can to protect the beauty of what we have and find a way to make the visitor experience as amazing as it should be.”
Those interested in running can find more information at www.elections.bc.ca.