Lower Taxes, Transit, Community Amenities Focus for Weys

weys

Council candidate for 2014 Squamish election, Rob Weys

Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the April edition of the Squamish Reporter

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Oct 25, 2014

A Squamish citizen for 13 years, Weys was a part-owner for a local business, Haymack Glass, and is now a regional manager for a company called the Freudenberg Group

Services for local youth, better management of district revenue, better business and economic development, transit and transportation would be his priorities if elected.

“If we have qualified people working for us, then why do we need consultants.” Rob Weys

Weys said the district needs to control spending on consultants and on hiring more district staff.

“If we have qualified people working for us, then why do we need consultants,” he said.

Whether it’s branding, Recreation Master Plan or Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation (SODC), district has outsourced a lot of its work to consultants.

He also reminded the community the councillors voted salary raises for themselves in 2012.

“They need to spend money more wisely and manage the current revenue better,” he said.

He said the town needs new, progressive people in the council chambers making decisions.

“A number of people have been in council for too long,” he said.

Weys is also passionate about youth sports, youth education, and access to counselling.

Citing the recent proposal to increase the fees for soccer and other youth activities, Weys said the community suffers when these activities are scaled back.

He also said the council needs to pursue and attract more business ventures and industry to town, be it tourism, commercial, light or heavy industrial.

Transit and transportation issues, too, need to be brought to the fore. As an example, he said the council needs to actively lobby the province for a better regional transit.

“We need to push our MLA and BC Transit…I don’t think the district has pushed hard enough,” he said.

Weys said he was supportive of the Woodfibre LNG project, as long as the interests of the Squamish are kept in mind.

With LNG, the sustainable tax component can be used to pay for amenities such as new pool, ice arena, fields, etc, he added.

“This fosters a strong relationship and commitment to the community,” he said.

An expanded university and a better regional transit, including transit to Vancouver, are among other things he would like to advocate for Squamish if elected.

 

Comments

  1. Susan Chapelle says:

    Rob,

    Great to hear that you are running on transit. I have not seen you shown up for a transportation committee meeting. I look forward to your attendance in the future, where you will gleen a better understanding of regional transit. We have a bus, get in touch with Heading North to find out times and cost. We have more bus service than most small towns in Canada for our population. Funding buses, if you have some ideas, please bring it forward. See you at May’s transit committee meeting. If there is something you desire on the agenda, let me know.

    Susan

  2. Susan Chapelle says:

    And congratulations! Great to serve your community, looking forward to your participation.

  3. larry mclennan says:

    I get the feeling that Susie isn’t exactly endorsing you Robbie. Probably the emphasis, on your part, regarding spending controls and welcoming industry to town. Hint, if you want her endorsement don’t even mention the term “drive thru” and, if you bank at CIBC or like Timbits, -keep quiet about that too.

  4. Rob Weys says:

    Hello Susan,
    I am aware of the private bus that runs to Vancouver.
    Just as Greyhound operates a limited private service.
    Im the article regading regional transit, my point is that BC Transit doesn’t support our community to Vancouver and Whistler.
    Our community pays taxes to the province and has high gas prices, even though we are not in Tanslink or GVRD.
    Youth, Students, Seniors, Commuters,and tourists would benifit from a regional system.
    It should be seen as infrastructure and an economic driver.

  5. Tatiana Kostiak says:

    Congratulations on your announcement Rob and being open about your position on LNG in particular. I respect that. From my perspective I can’t see supporting an industry that is a heavy polluter for meager tax dollars to (possibly) go towards recreational infrastructure. Healthy bodies through exercise and recreation yes…but at the expense of the environment..don’t get that.

  6. Brad says:

    I can’t speak for Rob but I look personally at LNG from a practical point of view. One being that we had an election and voters province wide were apparently unbothered by LNG, two that there are far worse alternatives that could be built on that site, and three that if the Province wants it it will happen, it is zoned for it. So better to put our energies into making it a world leader on minimizing environmental impacts. Everything we do has environmental impacts. Banning industry from our own backyard doesn’t make it or the demand go awsy. Kudos to Rob for taking an open position on this.

  7. Jaspera says:

    |Obviously neither Brad or Rob are really open about the LNG at WoodFibre – both use weasel words (viz. “as long as the interests of Squamish is kept in mind” – sounds so like our illustrious premier) to give that impression, but it’s obvious that neither have done any real in-depth research and analysis. People were not unbothered about LNG – they just didn’t have the information, because much of it was not readily forthcoming. The more they learn they more they are worried about its overall impacts, and the more they don’t want it. But they feel they can’t counteract the rigid mind-bent of Christy Clark or Harper and their lackies. They aren’t as stupid as you would make them out to be, Brad or Rob. And it’s not just about the environment (so let’s stop trying to put the blame for not wanting this project on “radical environmentalists” or whatever you call them these days) – it’s about the economy (neither of you appear to have delved really into that, but just accepted the proponents’ propaganda); its about real jobs not just minion-types; its about the negative costs or disbenefits which so far have not been factored in; its about health at many different levels; its about taxes and impacts on local residents (pity our governments haven’t emulated the Norway model!); its about safety in its various guises, inter alia.

  8. larry mclennan says:

    Gee Jaspura, what side of the LNG issue are you on? Its very difficult to discern. But its good of you to point out Rob’s (& Brad’s) positions that they regard people as stupid. That Rob has done no research on LNG – that they- (everybody else in BC?) are now worried about LNG’s overall impact-everybody??- apparently you are an expert-and they (everybody else in BC except Clarke/Harper and their lackies )have relayed that concern somehow to yourself or through some medium which you-and only you?- are privy. (Lackie- apparently Jaspera’s definition of the term is anyone who disagrees on any subject with Jaspera) Seemingly, creating a product for resale (LNG) is bad for the economy- that would explain why so many businesses and countries are wanting to get involved in the industry and why Trade Unions and other labour groups support it-all lackies according to Jaspera. Where did you get your in-depth research and analysis knowledge ? Please provide the sources. I would lke to see what these sources have to present as an arguement against LNG (as I believe Rob and Brad would too.)

  9. Brad Hodge says:

    “Obviously neither Brad or Rob are really open about the LNG at WoodFibre – both use weasel words ”

    This is not helpful to your cause: attacking and insulting people from behind an alias. I don’t think you are really in a position to know how much I’ve read on this subject, and I resent the inference that I don’t care. I do care. I have children and my own health to worry about too.

    “People were not unbothered about LNG ”

    I quote from the BC NDP’s website re: resources:

    “4. Promote and support sustainable LNG development
    Support sustainable LNG development and export as part of a diversified and prosperous economy.
    Ensure best practices around LNG and hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”
    Encourage the development of green energy options to reduce the environmental footprint of LNG development.”

    So unless we are alleging a deep cover takeover of both sides of the BC legislature, including an end run around grass roots membership, I’m thinking actually a fair number of people on both sides aren’t really all that upset about this.

    ” They aren’t as stupid as you would make them out to be, Brad or Rob. ”

    Never made out voters to be stupid? Where did I make that out?

    ” it’s about the economy (neither of you appear to have delved really into that, but just accepted the proponents’ propaganda”

    I am all about the economy. I work in it every day. My business operates entirely within the boundaries of the DOS. I personally leave Squamish maybe once every six months. I work with every type of business/individual out there. The economy is not that great, rec-tec promises notwithstanding. I know families that send one of their spouses far away for weeks on end to support their families because there are no suitable jobs for them here. Will Woodfibre magically end all this? No. But it’s a start. If we can’t say yes to an industrial project on land zoned for it, then we can’t really say yes to anything.

    And by the way, what exactly do you define as a ‘real job’ and not ‘minion-type’? I define a real job as one that pays a wage for work performed. I find this angle of attack to be a particularly weak one. I find the attacks on ‘foreign workers’ from other commenters to be particularly un-progressive and just plain weird. The Woodfibre people, for their part, have been careful to downplay wild expectations for this development. Nobody is imagining this proposal as a panacea for Squamish’s problems. It’s just a piece in the puzzle.

    While you have been lecturing me on what I don’t know, I haven’t read one specific detail from you on any of this.. on jobs, on the ‘safety issues’ (esp. relative to other industries), specific health impacts tied to LNG, etc. Studies, reports, etc. Why don’t you educate me on what you know, and I’ll respond in kind?

    • Wolfgang W says:

      As to the NDP’s support of establishing a LNG industry in BC: Can one even imagine the howls of the liberal opposition if the NDP would find itself in the same predicament as Christy Clark with respect to BC’s viability as a LNG exporter and yet still trying to cling to original script, no matter what the eventual cost?

  10. Brad Hodge says:

    One other note, Jaspera:

    “pity our governments haven’t emulated the Norway model!); ”

    You are aware that the Norway model is basically a hydro-carbon economy complete with offshore drilling rigs right? Are you okay with offshore drilling on the BC coast if we want to pursue that vision?

  11. Rob Weys says:

    I am well aware of the social, economical,enviromental, and philosophical issues and concerns. I have researched, discussed, and thought them through, over a long period of time.
    My view is what i believe will benefit the community of Squamish economically over the long run.

  12. MattB says:

    Yes it is too bad that comments on the subject of LNG tend to devolve into a nasty name-calling tirades. That accomplishes nothing. But when it comes to researching and sharing our homework, that is a completely different matter. I have attempted to reach out to the Yes side to see their homework on why they support the LNG industry and a plant in Woodfibre. I did participate in the last “phone in” townhall meeting WLNG conducted and asked the question, were the folks at WLNG aware of the real rates of fugitive methane from natural gas deposits many of which are drilled by hydraulic fracturing to which the engineer responded, “Oh we don’t drill for the gas, we only transport and sell it.” Good answer! Let me get this straight, you have no interest or information on where you product comes from or the impact that process may exert on the local air and water quality as long as it gets to your site and you can sell it? Can you imagine someone using that defense in the court room? But I was cut off after my initial question so was never able to get a proper answer.

    Undaunted I posted two questions on the Yes to LNG – Squamish Facebook page on October 27 asking what I though were civilized and polite questions in the hopes of starting a dialogue. Not only were they deleted the next day, the site moderator removed the ability for further comments! It thought that the purpose of having a facebook or other social media page was to have a dialogue and answer questions. Silly me.

    Other than the piece by Nate Dolha entitled “If the Shoe Fits” in this paper, that trumpets the benefits of 100 full-time jobs with a commensurate injection of millions into our local economies when those wages are spent here together with the $2 million in annual municipal tax revenues, I’ve seen none of this homework. I have addressed Nate’s rose-coloured vision in another post so won’t repeat it here but given the recent LNG foreign workers agreement between BC and China and a promise by Clark on a recent trip to India to not only train Indian workers in the LNG industry but to give them jobs here as well, the chances of more than a handful of local Squamish residents getting a full-time well-paid WLNG jobs to spend here in Squamish seem dubious at best. Had to laugh at the flyer from WLNG this week that firmly stated “We’ll hire quality local workforce where we can!? Unfortunately, foreign workers from China or India will have limited if any English language skills and will more than likely stay on site in Woodfibre, will get paid far less and save their wages and take or send it home with them if the experience with HD Mining and other Chinese companies operating in northern BC is any indication.

    I have done the homework, on the business model, on the economics and the competition in the LNG business world-wide as well as probed to determine the environmental impacts here in Squamish as well as where the gas is extracted in Northeastern BC and the global environment. Even though the US EPA estimates that fugitive methane rates from a wide range of drilling areas in the US are 1.2%, the reality from studies by geologists and engineers tells a very different story. Rich Coleman’s office (BC Ministry of Natural Gas) has declared that fugitive methane leaks from natural drill sites is either zero or between 0.3 and 0.5%. Satellite and other studies put the real rate of fugitive methane escape at between 4 and 17%. That’s one heck of a difference! The problem is that at leakage rates above 3.2%, natural gas/LNG is actually a “dirtier” fuel than coal in terms of greenhouse gases because methane is a far more effective gas at trapping greenhouse gases (more than 80 times as bad over a 20 year period).

    So again, I ask the pro LNG crowd, show me your homework. I could fill a book with mine which I’ll happily share. I have been searching for relevant and credible studies to either corroborate and bring into question the idealist government estimates but to no avail so far. I have got a contact at Pembina Institute to try my luck and I will post any studies I find here when I get them. I did contact the author of the study referenced below but he said and I quote “Unfortunately, I don’t know of any data from BC on methane leakage (there is remarkably little public data on shale development operations in BC, except for the Chemical Disclosure Registry).”
    Fracking may be a threat to B.C. ecosystems: SFU study – http://goo.gl/tqU9nN

    And one last request, as Brad says above “attacking and insulting people”… “is not helpful for your cause,” so can we please keep this civil and too the point. I have a thick skin and will simply ignore rude, ignorant or irrelevant comments that add nothing to this discussion.

    Thanks in advance and I look forward to reading what you’ve found and please provide specifics with links.

    For those interested in the fugitive methane numbers I mention above, here are a couple of references.

    Researchers find record leaks of methane from oil shale boom areas
    http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060007693

    Paper published by John Wiley & Sons – Methane study is in Chapter 8
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014EF000265/full

  13. MattB says:

    Sorry Rob;
    Didn’t mean to leave you out of the conversation. This article is about you and you do say that you are “supportive of the Woodfibre LNG project, as long as the interests of the Squamish are kept in mind.”

    Other than municipal taxes, what homework can you share with us that led you to become a supporter of the proposed WLNG? And again, can you provide specifics as I believe that it’s important to show us how you approached and carefully weighed the pros and cons regarding this issue so I can get a better idea of how you would approach the other issues we face in Squamish should you get elected.