Know your candidates: Brad Hodge, Ron Bahm, Ted Prior, Jason Blackman-Wulff, Glenn Campbell, Chris Pettingill

Brad Hodge

My name is Brad Hodge and I am running for a seat on the district of Squamish Council. My reason for running is simple: I want to make sure my children can afford to make a life for themselves here, as I chose to do 15 years ago. bradhdg1

We have a lot of positive developments to be thankful for.  The rise of tourism has helped soften the loss of our industrial sector.  Newcomers bring new ideas and energy. The quality of services the District provides continues to improve, and in the last few years we have seen a renewed focus on infrastructure improvements, which is excellent. The key going forward is finding ways to carve out space for those not able to afford our real estate market, those needing decent paying local jobs, those who lack adequate shelter, food and opportunities. Those who do not fit the ‘young’, ‘hip’, ‘well-educated’ demographic our tourism and real estate sectors target.

The thing that excites me about Squamish is that we can create space for all.  Squamish has unique advantages not available to other communities.  We have our natural beauty.  We have road, rail and ocean access all in close proximity.  We need to work to bring back industry so that we have the taxes and jobs we need to create opportunities for all, and pay for priorities like affordable housing and improved policing. 

 Ron Bahm

So, everyone talks about the taxes going through the roof and they say someone should do something, there are complaints about the ocean front development and they say someone should do something, the developers and builders complain about the excruciatingly slow process at city hall and how it is costing them money. And again they say somebody should do something. HELLO MY NAME IS RON BAHM AND I AM THAT SOMEBODY!!! We need jobs and we can’t cherry pick the ones that come are way, there has been talk of affordable rental housing for forty years, now is the time for ACTION.  Bahm-MAIN

We need affordable day care. We need to take better care of our elderly who were once the back bone of this community. We need to increase the tax base to offset tax increases which are out of hand and we need to stop hiring and firing staff and give them a sense of security so we can realize their full potential and clear the bottle neck which is choking the life out of our town . No more studies, no more consultants, no more big severance packages. Get the Oceanfront fast tracked and start looking for a public private partnership to build a new double rink.  

Ted Prior

I have lived in Squamish for 35 years and have a beautiful, supportive wife and four caring young adult children. Over these last three decades I have been part of many boards and committees helping to create a better community, including my current term on Council. I’ve been able to dedicate a significant amount of my time to attending every single council meeting in the last three years, and making sure I am well versed in the information and documents needed to make informed decisions for Squamish and its citizens. I am proud that we as a community have been able to realize a number of key issues from the 2011 election – opening up the Mamquam Blind Channel waterfront to the Downtown, the Sea to Sky Gondola, Corridor Trail improvements, expansion of SVMF and SOAR festivals, and the birth of many amazing new businesses and support organizations like Startup Squamish. ted-pic-small

Regarding increased local jobs and tax revenues, I feel it is essential to have an aggressive stand-alone Economic Development Committee put in place to attract sustainable business to Squamish, and to support the growth of established companies in town.

I also want to see increased District support for forestry – we need to be championing initiatives with the province to get the most value for our sustainable, renewable resource on the world market. I want to see the District better support innovative designs for roads and housing developments, especially in relation to seniors and low-cost housing options.

Jason BlackmanWulff

I grew up on the prairies and lived in a small town outside of Winnipeg and the suburbs of Calgary. When I moved to the suburbs of Calgary, I experienced first-hand limitations of living in a suburban community, where a car was required in order to carry out the daily functions of living, even to the corner store. With emerging science in climate change and the limitations on mobility imposed by a car-oriented neighbourhood, I quickly became interested in exploring alternatives to this and I was exposed to different possibilities when I moved to Montreal to pursue a post-secondary education in Urban Planning.  Living in this new environment without a car was effortless as public transit and the walking were often the most convenient options to get around. Campaign Headshot High Res

I believe Squamish is uniquely positioned to become a community that can have the very best of both worlds; close access to services and a close connection to nature.  With a background in Urban Planning, I would add value to our council by ensuring that we are implementing Smart Growth policies that offer solutions to future challenges we will face. Squamish is at an important point of transition and great care must be taken when making decisions that will impact the sustainability and resiliency of our community. The Key Elements of my platform are an open and effective council, Smart Growth and food security, increased recreational infrastructure and opportunities for all, and economic diversification.

Glenn Campbell

As a successful team player in a fast paced, international industry, I have always participated in my hometown activities and believe I can provide further leadership in Squamish. The skill set I will bring to the table includes financial and labour management, communications, research and development, technical and creative application, and public relations. The forces of change have been upon Squamish for almost 2 decades now. The four pillars of community well-being: social, environment, economy and culture, have been spinning wildly. On the social aspect, we have to accomplish a policy for affordable housing. Glenne

On Environment, every document produced by DOS in the past ten years states respect for the natural environment and I think we must do everything possible to improve the air, land, water, as well as provide a safe community environment as nature rebels with heavy blows occasionally. I have championed the environment with volunteering to keep the shoreline of the Squamish River clean on a daily basis, participating in the annual eagle count, educating via Leave No Trace program. Our diverse commitment to sports, performing arts, visual arts, library, museums and creative industry is extensively active. We need to account for culture as a measureable economic driver by creating inclusive collaboration by all entities. On economy, the young families, midlife established, and retired seniors in this community have a need and want for healthy, relevant work and lifestyle. 

Chris Pettingill

One of my key platform planks is good governance.  That’s something that’s critical to a functional and effective government, but it’s not necessarily easy to explain or even understand.  I had a couple of sessions of governance training during my time at the Chamber of Commerce.  But it took the practical experience of implementing a more modern governance model at our Chamber for me to fully understand what good governance means, and why it’s so important. Rather than bore you to death trying to explain exactly how good governance works, I’ll take a stab at explaining what the impact of it can be.  We’ve had one or two contentious issues in Squamish lately, including LNG, drive-thru’s, and the Kingswood development.  With good governance in place, these sorts of issues tend to be much less contentious.  Decisions can be made efficiently in a way the public can both understand and support.  Good governance relies on a team effort, and I’m ready to be part of the team Squamish needs. chris

Beyond good governance, a continued focus on economic development is really important to me.  I appreciate the incredible growth of tourism in Squamish, but I’m cautious about betting everything on that alone.  Other sectors/industries are growing in Squamish too, and it’s important that we maintain balanced growth in a good blend of sectors.

I hope I can count on your vote on November 15th, and I also hope that if you see out and about, you will let me know how I can help you to make Squamish better every day.