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Titus announces plans to run in byelection

Retired schoolteacher to base campaign on issues of sustainability

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Though she's been a voter and taxpayer in Whistler for more than three decades, Dawn Titus has never been much involved in the local political scene — until now.

This Oct. 28, the retired schoolteacher will put her name forward to run for council.

Titus' drive to get involved began this past January, when she attended a meeting to ask council why it would consider building a synthetic turf field in Whistler.

"I know we have a dedicated, hard-working mayor and council, there's no question about that, it's just we have a very quickly, dynamically, exponentially growing community and things are happening very fast on a much bigger scale," Titus said.

"What just absolutely shocked me in January was to see that our community could have $4 million, plus or minus hundreds of thousands of dollars, to spend on a soccer field when I felt, and like many people could see, that we have some very serious issues going on in our community."

The experience led Titus to question how decisions are being made at municipal hall, and since then she's put much effort into learning about the processes of council — and she's already learned a lot.

"I've been astounded by the amazing support I've had, plus the incredibly intelligent, wise people that I know in the community that I've already received so much valuable insight from, so it's been an incredible experience and hasn't even started yet," she said.

"I'm a schoolteacher, I'm university educated... I've sat in on (school board) meetings and had to make motions, and I understand the process."

If elected, Titus said her priorities would centre on issues of sustainability.

"I've been reviewing our Whistler2020 (guiding) document, and to speak specifically to the turf issue, I don't think we're supposed to be bringing those kind of things in here, so sustainability for our community, " she said.

"And when we talk about housing, I, too, am losing my personal physician; Dr. Cathy Zeglinski has been my doctor for over 20 years — a hard working, dedicated individual whose practice is closing its doors (due to rising lease rates).

"There is land available where we could be building more Whistler Housing Authority housing. That's not the ultimate solution, but why have we reached this crisis where we're all putting our hands up in the air and going, 'What is the plan here?' Why didn't this start happening five years ago?"

And if she finds herself at the council table when the dust settles this fall, Titus plans on running for re-election in 2018, when a new mayor and council will be voted in.

"I have no conflicts of interest in town. I'm retired, I'm committed, I'm available, I'm hard working, all of those things," she said.

"I'm not saying I'm the genius with all the solutions, but someone's got to go in and start asking the hard questions."

The elected councillor will fill the seat of the late Andrée Janyk, who passed away in June.

Nominations for the Oct. 28 byelection will be accepted for 10 days, from 9 a.m. on Sept. 12 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 22, after which all successfully nominated candidates will be posted to www.whistler.ca/candidates.

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