Another candidate declared his intentions to
run for Squamish council this week, ending a few months of speculation.
Paul Lalli joins a growing body of could-be councillors,
from Squamish Nation’s Donna Billy to lawyer Doug Race, as well as a host of
Greatly inspired by this year’s property tax
hike, Lalli’s platform hinges largely on economics.
“The last property tax bill — we had a
10.5 per cent increase,” he said in a phone interview with
. “I think that’s totally unacceptable. What I’d like to do is bring
predictability back to people’s tax bills.”
To do that, he’s proposing a set of
revenue-generating ideas. One idea would see council lobbying the province to
set up a municipal lottery. Even without these ideas, however, Lalli said the
tax hike could have been avoided.
“Potentially. We’ve had a huge amount of
growth, building permit revenues and assessments. Typically, when our
assessments go up, your mill rate should go down. I realize we’ve lost a lot of
industry in our community, but, in today’s economy and global market, we’ve got
to recognize that there’s only one taxpayer. Sometimes, you’ve got to do more
Lalli supports mixed use developments and
would like to see them included in the planning process underway with the
Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation, of which he is a director. More
commercial growth, he said, will benefit the district’s bottom line, as would
the fruition of development proposals like Garibaldi at Squamish, which he
Transit and homelessness also factor into his
campaign. The district should look to Squamish Nation for ideas on the latter
issue, Lalli said.
Another key topic in his campaign will be the
Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) in the works at regional government level.
“I want to concentrate on the RGS,” he said.
“I’ll be lobbying really hard again. There’s an issue where Squamish is the
largest community in the regional district and has the most to lose or gain
from this. The RGS we have in front of us will put us in a position where we
lose autonomy. Communities like Whistler, Pemberton and Lillooet will have a
say on land use issues in our community. The plan in front of us is not good.”
A family man born and raised in Squamish,
Lalli has previous council experience. He was elected to council in 1996, when
he was just 23. He once harboured mayoral ambitions, though he lost to outgoing
mayor and federal Liberal candidate Ian Sutherland in 2002 by 570 votes. In
addition to his position on SODC, Lalli is chair of the South Asian Diabetes
Action Committee, as well as a former chair of the property assessment review
panel. He also coaches soccer.
Lalli’s announcement comes in the wake of
several others. Donna Billy of Squamish Nation recently announced her
candidacy. Billy, who works with the Howe Sound Women’s Centre, is running a
campaign based on social values and bottom up governance.
Bryan Raiser, a local writer who has come
within 37 votes of a seat on council, is entering the race. His campaign is in
Doug Race, a retiring lawyer and Greg Gardner
supporter, is also unrolling a campaign, as is Catherine Jackson of the
Squamish Environmental Society. Dave Clarkson, who has run for council before,
is also expected to announce his candidacy in coming weeks.
Patricia Heintzman, Mike Jenson, Jeff McKenzie
and Corrine Lonsdale make up the incumbents seeking re-election.
The only declared mayoral candidate is Greg Gardner, though Ron Bahm, who has run unsuccessfully in the past, has publicly pondered entering the race.