Council member makes bid for mayors chair in Squamish
In the Squamish mayoralty race, Paul Lalli is relying on his experience.
Born and raised in the community, the 31-year-old has been on council for more than six years, having won a by-election to replace Meg Fellowes. While on council, Lalli has served on virtually all the committees, including forestry, parks and recreation, seniors, he chaired the finance committee, and most recently has served as chair of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
"Serving on the committees has been a really good learning experience and there is a lot to learn. Government is an expensive business," Lalli said.
"My focus is to ensure the services we provide are accountable to the taxpayers. My biggest focus is on the economy. We have to get better control over our expenses, and get more revenue in through broadening the tax base. Being on council, I have been a part of managing our resources responsibly. The number one priority has been to provide the non-sexy services: garbage collection, sewer, and good water, fire protection and police services. I think weve done a good job of ensuring the tax dollars are spent in a responsible and forward thinking fashion in those areas."
After graduating from Howe Sound Secondary School, Lalli worked at the Bank of Montreal, the Best Western Sea to Sky Hotel, and now he owns and operates the Garibaldi Lanes bowling alley with partner John Stuart.
Lalli also earned a diploma in business administration from Capilano College, but cut his post-secondary education short when his father died and family needs took precedence.
Lalli is running for the mayors job against fellow councillor Ian Sutherland, who is on the New Directions slate, and political novice Ron Bahm Sr., who works in the construction industry.
(Lalli states categorically that his campaign has had no assistance from any of MLA Ted Nebbelings successful Liberal campaign team, as alleged by several New Directions members in a recent story in Pique Newsmagazine.)
Lalli said his decision to enter politics was driven by a love of working with people, and a desire to help shape the community he grew up in.
"I first got involved in federal and provincial politics, and coming out of the tourism industry I see a lot of similarities between that and politics, serving people and keeping them happy, though it is not always an easy task."
Being located between Vancouver and Whistler, two popular destination spots, Lalli said growth in Squamish is inevitable.
"Growth is going to happen," he said. "We have to control it, and have the infrastructure in place, just like you have to have a foundation before you can build a house. Current councils successful effort to get $7.5 million to upgrade the sewage treatment plant will go a long way towards accommodating that growth."