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Mack, Rainbow look to four more years

SLRD directors set to be acclaimed



With no one stepping up to run against them on Oct. 20, three board directors with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) will be acclaimed: Russell Mack (Area C), Tony Rainbow (Area D) and Vivian Birch-Jones (Area B).

In Area A, near the Upper Bridge River Valley, three candidates have come forward to represent the area's 187 residents: John Courchesne, Allan Moritz and Karen Playfair.

Both of the SLRD's School District 48 trustees have also been acclaimed: Rebecca Barley in Area C and Celeste Bickford in Area D.

A lot has been done over the last four years in Area C—an area covering 5,570 square kilometres to the north of Whistler, and home to 3,218 people—said Mack.

New docks at Anderson Lake, work at Gates Lake Park, working with the Village of Pemberton on a new recreation complex, fire trucks and equipment for the Pemberton Meadows and Birken Fire Departments, and an engineering study for Lillooet Lake Estates are just a few of Mack's stated accomplishments from his first term in office.

"And the Friendship Trail Bridge (between Pemberton and Mount Currie) obviously is I think a really big deal because that's been ongoing for 15 years, and nobody could just ever seem to make it happen," Mack said. "So we finally have, and the bridge is going in.

"We had a very good group of people at the board table ... we had our disagreements for sure, but we always talked through them civilly, and got a lot of stuff done."

There have also been a bevy of grants given to out to Area C organizations this term (a complete list, broken down by year, can be found at

In Area D—covering 3,041 square kilometres south of Whistler and home to 1,057—director Rainbow said he was proud of the SLRD's work on building relationships with First Nations, particularly in the north.

"There's a lot of time and effort gone into that, and we feel very good about it. It's not something you can do quickly," he said.

"Maybe it doesn't show much in the way of results at this time, but I think it bodes well for the future."

And there's a lot on the horizon, particularly in Area D—Rainbow listed three major developments in various stages of approval: One at Brittania Beach, one at the golf course at Furry Creek and another south of Britannia.

"So that's a lot of development in a relatively small window, and that's only part of Area D—there's Pinecrest and Black Tusk and the Upper Squamish Valley, and there's other areas as well, but just within this southern part of Area D, a lot of development in the next four years," he said.

"The thing I'm really excited about in the Upper Squamish Valley is that we've entered into an agreement with the District of Squamish (DOS), and we are doing a DOS/Area D agricultural plan ... staff are starting work on that this fall, so that will be completed certainly within the term."

Another area that needs to be addressed in the term ahead is short-term rentals, Rainbow said.

"It doesn't matter what the platform is, the results are the same—we've got people living in Vancouver, owning homes, and renting them out, and it's just party time with no controls and no regard for the community," he said, adding that the SLRD has the ability to fine nightly rentals in areas not zoned for it $500 a night.

"We've not been doing that. We've been threatening it. We've not been doing it. So we want to be more aggressive in our application of the sanctions that we do have available to us."

The SLRD could also bring the matter to BC Assessment or even the Canada Revenue Agency, Rainbow added.

"I strongly suspect that in most cases, the homes are not insured as commercial properties, not assessed commercial, and there is a good chance that all or at least some of the income is not being reported," he said.

"So we want to try and be aggressive in that way, and basically say to them, 'You can't just stick your finger up and say you're not paying attention to our rules,' which is basically what's happening at the moment."

Looking to the next four years in Area C, Mack said his priorities will be continuing work on projects already underway, like seeing Pemberton's rec complex and the Friendship Trail completed, and more work on Gates Lake Park and Lillooet Lake Estates.

"Just on and on and on," he said. "And I'm sure there will be other stuff that's going to come up that we haven't even foreseen."

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