Kirkham, Raiser Seek Re-election

Mayor Rob Kirkham in his office on Dec. 26.

Mayor Rob Kirkham in his office in a file photo from 2012.

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Sept.2, 2014

Mayor Rob Kirkham annouced he will seek re-election in the next council elections slated for Nov. 15.

“I am asking for your support to re‐elect me for another term.” he said.

“It has been an honour and a privilege for me to serve this amazing community for the past three years as your Mayor and I am asking for your support to re‐elect me for another term,” he said in a statement released to the media today.

Kirkham said the council has transformed the downtown with a new waterfront park and rejuvenated Stan Clarke Park as a venue for
events, festivals & celebrations while embracing tourism initiatives such as the Sea to Sky Gondola and Squamish Valley Music Festival.

“We have partnered with community groups such as SORCA with dedicated funding for trails maintenance and the mountain bike skills park. We have also collaborated with the Squamish Soccer Association to deliver the new all‐weather fields,” he said.

Kirkham said as promised three years ago, the district has a commitment with an experienced land developer to deliver the
community’s vision of the Squamish Oceanfront Lands to remove the fiscal burden from the Squamish taxpayers.

“We have also been able to expand our bike lane infrastructure, improve and expand
transit, and provide additional flood protection,” he added.

Kirkham said a strengthened financial position, tax incentives and a streamlined municipal process to attract new business and creating more local jobs were some of the advances that district made under his leadership.

“Squamish is poised to continue this momentum with the current leadership and fiscal responsibility in place,” he added.

Kirkham will face Ron Bahm in the mayoral race.

Coun. Bryan Raiser has also announced he will seek re-election to Squamish council in November. If elected, it would be his third term in council.

“Looking back at the Squamish when I was first elected to the Squamish of today is nothing short of astounding,” he said.

“The transition we waited over a decade for is upon us and I would be honored if the people of Squamish choose me to continue to represent them in the council chambers.”

Susan Chapelle and Rob Weys are other locals who have declared their candidacy for municipal elections slated for Nov. 15.


  1. Richard Tripp says:

    Despite the spin, my internal optimist hopes and believes a better choice will be forthcoming.

    • Jon S. says:

      A better choice like whom? Auli? The woman who ran a whistler small business into the ground. Bahm? Well intended with little management experience.
      What has Kirkham done wrong?

  2. Jean says:

    Now is the time to either demand or choose a council that does not just talk, but acts fairly. A council that sees communication as something important for a modern politician.
    How hard is it to have a searchable database, by topic of interest, to get instant answers for whatever a citizen asks of the people in power?
    So here is my suggestion– harebrained as it may be; it is time for people to wake up. Not just use their thumbs for irrelevant text messages, but actually putting some real policy matters into conversation. And let the public running for office face it head-on… not using their spin doctor sound-byte, but the personal answer of a politician; maybe a little out of their comfort zone and perhaps even vulnerable, but answering questions without fear of it being hijacked for somebody else`s agenda.
    To me, honesty and openness are essential attributes for any leader. A trustworthy politician who provides support, and can be engaged with. We can make beyond a two-minute contribution by marking an X on a ballot. I believe it is time to demand and test, by readying questions and sending them to the running members, and then sit back and see just how many are being answered, and make our own database: a database of who can be trusted, and who we want in power after the next election. For anybody interested, let us blog the answers we receive, and note the ones that were never answered, and make our choices accordingly on the ballot.

    • Jon S. says:

      Jean, what are you even talking about?

      Instant answers? Really? The mayor has more important things to do than answer every question. Not to mention he may not have every answer right away. Frankly it isn’t responsible for the mayor to respond to a question that he has no knowledge of fact about. Mr. Kirkham has done a great job of getting the facts before rushing to conclusions, something that Squamish needs now.

      Have you tried sending the mayor an email? I have and I got a reply within 48 hours. Seems pretty good to me.

      You need to think things through Jean.

  3. Observer says:

    Well said Jean:
    All the candidates, whether for Mayor or Council should be required to READ ALL the Social Media available and Newspapers regarding our town and the opinions of our citizens, and to bring up any repeated concerns t0 Council. Ted Prior and a couple of others have been active in the media and they, at least, have listened. But, the interaction of most has been lacking. There will always be the “silent majority/minority”, but the “tip of the iceberg” is related to the rest.
    There should be efficient and transparent communication between Staff and Council…And, as you said, “honesty”. The agendas of Council meetings are often long and tedious and, all too often, our concerns get lost or perpetually tabled because of Council member’s fatigue and the desire for an early return to home. If there isn’t an efficient and transparent relationship between Staff and Council, none of the above will work.

  4. Brad Hodge says:

    I voted for Rob Kirkham in the last election and generally haven’t regretted it. The pros for me are that he is genial and approachable. Being a former bank manager, I don’t sit awake at night fearful about his fitness for the job. It is true he does not inspire excitement, but that was a plus for me last time around because I’ve seen a few revolutionary-minded governments in my day and more importantly the wreckage they leave behind; SODC and SSC are prime among them. Further, I believe experience on Council (and substantial time in the community) is a must before seeking the top post.

    I feel like I know where he stands. He does not use profuse verbiage to mask his positions and he does not flip with the first breeze of opposition to blow in chambers’ doors. He is not given to personal insults, condescension or petty fights online. He can at times appear cranky, but you would probably be too sometimes if you had to deal with your opponents throwing around your name like a four letter word year after year. He should, of course, make more effort to accommodate opposition and give it a fair hearing. He should insist on transparency so that naysayers don’t have an opportunity to plant the seeds of conspiracy about his and other Councillors’ intentions.

    It is of course fair to criticize the SODC deal also. There is a perception in the community that there exists an old boys club, and that it helps itself. I’ve lived in small towns most of my life and that perception is always there and sometimes it is indeed valid. Be it the Scotia loan or the present deal as it stands, I concur the optics are not helpful. That doesn’t mean however that I agree anything nefarious is going on. Certainly in my own life experience, I have tended to deal with people I knew and trusted. This could simply be the case. This piece of property was an albatross from the get go and Council had to play a bad hand. That said, SODC is a case in point example of why ‘arms-length’ municipal corps tend to be a bad idea — they create way too much opaqueness and far too many opportunities to pass the buck, and blame. This Council did not do a good enough job on the transparency front and Kirkham, as leader, does have to wear that.

    Probably Coun. Sander’s suggestion of keeping SODC mostly as employment lands made the most sense out of any of the proposals, but it’s too late for that. I can’t imagine, in view of the LNG brouhaha how a new set of residential inhabitants will manage to get along with industry that is literally right next door. But whatever. Whether your view is ‘shady inside job’ or ‘best deal we could get’, we needed SODC, or most of it, off our backs. It’s fair to criticize the particulars, but I’m not sold (yet) that the alternatives are/were any better. If it’s drawn to a close without too much more bloodshed, Kirkham (and Council) will end up getting decent marks from me for that.

  5. Douglas Day says:

    In my opinion, Kirkham is a disaster for Squamish.
    First, wearing his Scotia Bsnk Managers hat, he loads up the SODC with
    $11 million in debt then has the gall to con the Municipality into granting a
    100% Guarantee on the debt.
    He probably got a nice bonus from Scotia Bsnk for that score.
    Then he takes so called “early retirement” and to augment his Bank pension somehow miraculously gets elected Mayor (by the narrowest of votes against someone who had just moved to Squamish.
    He takes credit for the new a gondola project and the Squamish Valley Music Festival that were both done deals long before he became Mayor.
    He presides over huge multiple property tax increases then to cap it all off, in a convoluted deal , oversees the complete give away of some 150 Acres of our priceless waterfront lands to an Insider for peanuts.
    The deal is completely surrounded by mystery which seems to fit the way this Mayor conducts our Business.
    He should take full retirement and live off his Bank Pension before he does any more damage around here. (of course he would then have to pay for his First Class trips to Japan)
    Although it must be nice for him to be a “Double Dipper” helping himself to an additional $50,000/year earnings while delivering up multiple tax increases to the people of Squamish who can ill afford to pay them.
    As Sir Winston Churchill said to Prime Minister Neville Chaberlain after Hitler was bombing London, “In the name of God sir, GO!”
    Respectfully submitted
    Douglas R. Day
    Squamish, B.C.

  6. Jon S. says:

    Mr. Kirkham has been a steady hand on the wheel for the district of Squamish. Council has had to make some tough decisions, however we need to remember that in BC a mayor is only one vote on council.

    • Douglas Day says:

      Yes tough decisions indeed.
      Conning the local government into issuing $11 Million in loan guarantees to his own Bank.
      Giving away our priceless waterfront lands to an SODC Vice Chair for peanuts
      Jambing the people of Squamish with property tax increases 5 times the rate of inflation, while taking off on expensive trips to Japan and China.
      While he may have only one vote on a council, a Mayor more tuned into the people of Squamish would cast a better vote and perhaps convince fellow Council Members to follow
      That is Leadership!
      This town desperately needs serious Leadership.
      Not some passed over for promotion tired ex Banker who took “early retirement”
      And then ran for Mayor to augment his bank pension with an extra $50,000/year

  7. Jean says:

    I once wrote the president of a big gas company and even after talking to his secretary never got an acknowledgement.
    I wrote bigger companies and at least got a form (template Letter) back. Cutesy requires to answer and acknowledge any correspondence, even non pleasant ones. That is what I talk about, being cooperative. Not necessary to do what one is suggesting or asking.

  8. Jean says:

    Minimum anticipates sales price of LNG converted to Un-natural Gas ( Fracketd Methane gas) Min 11 $ GJ ( spot price) to break even, Present Mainly Natural Gas as byproduct from Crude pumping (unavoidable) Base price for Household gas ~ 4 $ GJ. Do you think that price would hold, if Fortis can sell it in form of LNG for the higher price?????