"Its the people who guide us, not the other way around."
Susie Gimse, Electoral Area C candidate
For the past 12 years, Susie Gimse has represented Electoral Area C on the board of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District. She had decided that was enough until people around the community voiced their support for her seeking a fifth term.
"It was great to get that feedback," said Gimse. "Besides, there are a lot of things I would like to see completed."
In the last decade, Gimse has witnessed the areas fast-paced growth and evolving culture.
"Were at a point in our growth where things are changing," said the politician.
She sees economic development as a primary issue.
"Typically we were a logging and farming community. Tourism is become more prevalent. In terms of an industrial tax base we have a very limited tax base. It would be nice to see the Pemberton Industrial Park full and working at capacity. We have to see how we can generate more economic opportunities for the area. This may involved hiring an economic development officer, Im not sure," said Gimse.
Other issues that top Gimses agenda are increasing transit in the area via the federal gas tax credit and fulfilling recreation needs.
"I sit on the Union of B.C. Municipalities executive and was involved in negotiating with the federal government around the gas tax credit. The cheque is in the bank," she confirmed. "Whats unique about the B.C. arrangement with the gas credit is that it goes directly to local government. One of the objectives for our area is to look at regional transit using the gas tax. In the next few years were going to see millions of dollars come into our region as a result of that gas tax."
The Area C director says that the recreation complex with its 3,000 sq. ft. workout area and attached library, as outlined in an upcoming referendum question, should be considered "phase one" of an overall plan for recreational opportunities in the area.
"There are ongoing demands for more recreation services. When we start looking at phase two we will have to look at partnerships with Mount Currie."
Another pressing issue for the region has been boundary expansion. Gimse said that she has no preconceived ideas where those boundaries should be, but believes the community has to have a full review and completely understand the pros and cons.
"For example, when you reach a population size of 5,000 youre responsible for 70 per cent of policing costs. At a cost of $100,000 per officer, do the math."
Gimse encourages people to get involved, access documents online at the SLRD website and ask questions. One of the areas sure to generate questions will be the next review of the Area C Official Community Plan.
"The Area C OCP articulates the vision and the values of the community and where the community wants to go. Those documents are intended to guide the government for five years, those five years are up and it has to go back to the community for review. We need to know, do we need to change? Do we need to go in another direction?
"Its the people who guide us, not the other way around," said Gimse.
Her only declared opponent as of Wednesday was Valley Vision candidate Alan LeBlanc.