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Feature - Squamish politics head in New Directions with coalition

Lack of action by current council a driving force behind new political organization

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"There is lots of vision in this community," said Lebans. "But if it’s not implemented you have nothing. If we don’t plan for 20 or 30 years ahead, this is not going to be a place where our grandchildren can grow up and have a home."

Liveability in the community is also a common theme among the New Directions candidates.

"I’ve been labelled ‘green’ because I’ve been able to save a thin strip of land through the community," said Peters. "I’m not trying to stop development. I just want a place that’s liveable. You can’t build from valley bottom to valley bottom and from side to side and have it liveable. I know logging jobs and industrial jobs are important. I’ve worked hand in hand with Interfor loggers, and that’s been good for the loggers and the residents."

Peters also said Squamish needs a "welcoming committee" at city hall when people approach with new business ideas.

"You go into city hall and are given a form and told to fill it out. We should have someone greeting these people and showing them what’s available."

Fenn agreed. "We’re under no illusion that we need new processes and new understandings among the players to move ahead in Squamish," he said.

"Bringing the industrial, commercial, recreational and residential users together so we can all use the waterfront is a good objective, and that co-operation could spread through the whole community."

Why they decided to run:

Sonja Lebans

Since moving to Squamish six years ago Lebans has volunteered in the library, joined the board and for the past two years has served as chair. A nurse, she represented Squamish on the Community Health Council and Coast Garibaldi Health Services Society until it was disbanded. Lebans now represents the Sea to Sky Corridor on the Interim Community Advisory Committee for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

As an avid skier, she is a mountain host on Blackcomb and also volunteers for the local Hospital Foundation golf tournament.

"My advocacy for the library, education and social needs in the community caused me some frustration. I saw that we had a ways to go in these areas, and that’s where it started," she said.

"The other thing I was concerned about was the divisiveness. Nobody seems willing to listen and work together to be creative, and that’s not just in Squamish but in small towns across Canada. I believe council can set the tone for that."

Dave Fenn

Currently the owner and manager of the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Company, Fenn was born and raised in North Vancouver, and has several university degrees, including a Master Degree in Public Administration, University of Victoria; Certificate of French Language, Universite de Savoie; and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from UBC. He has been a university researcher, worked as an analyst with the Treasury Board Secretariat in Ottawa, and since 1988 has been a management consultant in Public Policy Analysis with clients including the federal government, 10 ministries of the B.C. government, trade organizations and native bands.