Patricia Heintzman Elected Mayor of Squamish


Mayor-elect Patricia Heintzman celebrates her victory at the Brackendale Art Gallery on Saturday, Nov.15.
Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Nov. 16, 2014

Squamish voters elected Patricia Heintzman as their Mayor and brought in three new faces to the council in one of the most hotly-contested municipal election in recent history.

Heintzman defeated incumbent Mayor Rob Kirkham by 289 votes. She polled 2,900 votes, while Kirkham polled 2611 votes. The third mayoral candidate, Ron Bahm, got 428 votes.

Doug Race, Karen Elliott, Jason Blackmann-Wulff, Peter Kent, Ted Prior, and Susan Chapelle were elected in as councillors. (Unofficial results can be seen here)

With their vote, the community also voiced its opinion on LNG. Voters squarely rejected candidates who supported LNG and brought in those who voiced strong opposition to the project or at least raised concerns about it.

Voters also eroded the traditional power structure in town, electing candidates who are relatively new to town, educated, progressive, environmentally conscious and cosmopolitan in their attitude.

In an interview with the Reporter, Mayor-elect Patricia Heintzman said people were looking for change and were passionate to see it happen.

“People were really excited and engaged in this election,” she said.

Heintzman said among other things her victory could be attributed to a younger demographic showing up to vote.

“They see in me their aspirations and how they would like to see their community grown,” she said.

Mayor Rob Kirkham said he was ‘very disappointed’ with the results of the election.

“I’m very disappointed, but the community has made a choice,’” he said.

Kirkham said it’s hard to interpret the result as an anti-LNG vote, adding that he has never suggested that he was in favour of the project without seeing the results of the Environment Assessment or getting input from the district-appointed LNG committee.

 “I just didn’t think saying No to LNG was the best way to approach this,” he said.

Elected for the third time with the highest number of votes, Doug Race called Kirkham a ‘very competent mayor.’

“He was a very competent mayor and he made a significant contribution to our community,” Race said.

Race said it’s hard to read the vote as an anti-LNG vote, adding that it would be a shame if people voted just on that issue.


  1. Don Patrick says:

    Congratulations to all of the candidates in putting your community before your family only to be treated as second class citizens when you do not take the correct stand. Seems the educated have got the yes button this time with a couple of exceptions which should be good for the council… although in my 70 years many educated folks have remained on the back burner….so only time will tell…could be a long tenure.

    • Michael Lonergan says:

      Don, I am not sure what to make of your comment? In any election, there are winners and losers. Obviously people vote based on their views and how the views and opinions of the candidates line up with their own. It has nothing to do with being treated like second class citizens! Some people won. Some people lost. That is the nature of the democratic process. All those that throw their hat in the ring should be commended for being a part of the process that keeps democracy functioning, at least at the community level. I would certainly hope that those who lost are not made to feel like second class citizens. They are to be commended and congratulated for being willing to put their opinions and views out there. We all want to make this the best community possible!

  2. Jean says:

    San Bruno California Gas Pipe burst 38 houses gone 5 Killed and and and.. It is hard to think that there is anything more important on Voters mind in Squamish then to say no to LNG… unfortunately some just don,t get it yet!

    • Herbert Vesely says:

      Thank you Jean. If Squamish is overruled by Victoria on the LNG we can still push for a safer routing for the pipeline. What alternative routings has Fortis evaluated and if none why not?

    • Kevin Erickson says:

      When? Please provide reference, thanks, otherwise you’re post is just scare mongering. While you are at it please Google the number of gas incidents in North America in the last 10 years then consider the population and the geogrphical area we’re talking about, and you will see that gas pipelines are really quite safe!

  3. peter austen says:

    But people did vote on that issue! The future of squamish is tourism and VERY light industry…. not fossil fuels screwing up Howe sound for another 50 years. We must have vision please…
    I also want to see council set in motion a big clean up project for the whole of Squamish downtown and waterfronts. Most of the sloughs are a disgrace and bushy areas are full of industrial debris from decades of exploitation of this once beautiful valley. I know we have lost the industrial base but no more property tax and utility tax increases for now perlease !

  4. Gord Gunner says:

    I sure didn’t vote with LNG on my mind. It was more about all crap that this town has been through with regards to high taxes and our ugly waterfront. I was tired of seeing council waste our tax payers money.

  5. Don Patrick says:

    California is using Butane… lets not get out of text… fracking is bad in some places and not a problem in others, but if you think stopping LNG in Squamish is going to have any effect on the process in other parts of NA… wake up. There are more pending issues in Squamish like looking after your own kids, etc, etc…. start giving a little and drop the “it is my right” attitude, we earn privileges… rights are not really the issue. Going to celebrate our 50th anniversary… the pictures of yesteryear with respect to this day show very little changes. …. maybe some of you goofs should have been around 50 years ago… only change more goofs…. look in the mirror.

    • Michael Lonergan says:

      Don, congrats on your 50th Anniversary. I guess someone that has been around that long has seen much change! I suppose as you get on in life, it is harder to see change as a positive thing. I mean, things were “never done this way back when I as a young whippersnapper!” Right?
      Couple of things you mention, here Mr. Patrick. The issue of Fracking: ” fracking is bad in some places and not a problem in others, but if you think stopping LNG in Squamish is going to have any effect on the process in other parts of NA… wake up.”
      Fracking has been shown to affect local groundwater supplies and, in some cases, expose hidden fault lines. The science on Fracking is hardly conclusive that this process is safe.
      Small communities, such as Squamish standing up to these corporate bullies that have only one thing in mind, short term profit, and saying “NO!”, will encourage other communities to take the same action.
      Secondly you bring up the kiddies. Ah, yes. Look after your own kids, etc, etc…. Actually, those that oppose Woodfibre LNG ARE doing exactly that! Don, I know you are a long time resident here in Squamish. My family moved here in 1973. I am sure, as a long time resident, you will recall driving in from the city on Highway 99 and hitting that point when a certain pungent odor would overcome you? You must remember that? That was the smell of Woodfibre. Woodfibre, the Anaconda mine at Britannia Beach, plus the FMC chemical plant all contributed to Howe Sound being declared an environmental disaster back in the day. Today, Howe Sound is coming back to life. You see, Don, this is a part of looking after our children – leaving our planet in far better shape for them, so that it can sustain them, and their children’s children’s lives. If life in our oceans collapses, we humans will quickly become extinct.
      Don, calling people “goofs”? Is that really necessary? I dare say that if some of us “goofs” had been here 50 years ago, we would have seen a very different Squamish: Mountains decimated by strip logging. Pollutants being dumped into Howe Sound unchecked by environmental controls and laws. Maybe look in the mirror, Don, and see who the real ‘goof’ is.

  6. larry mclennan says:

    Doug Race- you have all my sympathies- good luck for the next four years. If you’re not already doing it- try taking up meditation.

  7. Shanne Bushey says:

    Maybe some of these goofs should have been around 50 years ago to talk some sense into guys like you…. maybe then fracking would be a thing of the past and we all wouldn’t be slaves to oil and gas.
    Name calling… really?
    Looking in the mirror sounds like a good idea.

  8. peter austen says:

    can someone explain the above semi demographically derogatory and rambling letter please ?

  9. Jp says:

    Maybe we are paying high taxes because there is no industrial tax base!

  10. jp says:

    Sad that the election came down to LNG. Because of this we have a few incompetent officials elected who have no ideas on the REAL issues of Squamish (infrastructure, taxes, growth etc). Sad also to note on FB Squamish speaks that they edit and delete any negative comments towards Auli. so much for transparency…. Lets face it.. she was unsuccessful for running for mayor and now council. If she cannot run her own business…. can she run council??? Peter Kent has also been publicly adversarial by referring to council as the -” new guard”. Last I checked the previous council and leaders of this community were instrumental in bringing in 2010 Olympics which brought most of the “new guard” here. It will be a big wakeup call for the supporters of Patty and co. that municipal council is not about tackling GMO’s, global warning, animal rights etc.

    • Adam B. says:

      jp….well said! What kind of world would we live in if we created sustainable, top wage jobs, ensured access to safe nutritious food for residents, provided a framework that guided development (residential and commercial) that reduced the impacts of global warming, etc.? What if we had a vision for the future that made Squamish better than anywhere else? That would be horrific! I’m enraged at this silly ambition to create a better town. Thank you for standing up and pointing out this madness.

    • Michael Lonergan says:

      The previous council were instrumental in bringing in the 2010 Olympics? Really? Explain to me how the Games benefited Squamish? Did Squamish benefit from any new Sporting infrastructure? The ice arena we have was built in the 1970’s. I myself learned to skate and played minor hockey in the arena in the late ’70’s. Town council could have asked for so much more! The 2010 Games benefited Squamish ZERO. We have no new infrastructure. We have no new sports facilities that could have been used by Olympic athletes for training and local amateur sports organizations. The ONE thing we did get is a new highway so residents can get to Vancouver a bit faster to get to work.

      • Kevin Erickson says:

        Ummm? Isn’t that infrastructure? Whistler tried to pawn off the sledge hochey arena on us. Glad the council ofnthe day said no thanks.

  11. Larry McLnnan says:

    Yes JP- I suppose you can call 6 “a few”.

  12. Sam Wilde says:

    Remember this?

    This ALONE is justification enough to get rid of the outgoing Mayor and every single member of Council. And Rob Kirkham is “most proud of the work his group did with the Squamish Oceanfront”. What a joke.

    The “new guard” certainly can’t be any worse than the old one.

  13. Rick says:

    To me there is only one real question to all that live here.
    “Why did you move here anyway?”
    Was housing too expensive where you lived before? Property/Utility Tax? Was the traffic too much to handle? Was the local politics not heading in your personal direction? Were the schools too crowded for your kids? Were there just too many people moving in? Too many condos? Infill? Crime? No job opportunities?
    Squamish once was what it will never be again.
    Housing was affordable. Taxes as well. No traffic.Politicians got things done at a reasonable price. Lots of room in the schools. Population growth was fueled by employment and babies. Not by filling Condos. Crime was minimal and there were jobs. Lots. The “Old Guard”had a pretty nice town. It may not of been the perfect town your looking for now, but it was enjoyed by all. So next time you wish to save the little ol town of Squamish, take your ideas back to where you came from and start there.

    • Michael Lonergan says:

      Rick, change is inevitable. My family has been here in Squamish since 1973. Many changes have occurred over those 40 + years, both here locally and elsewhere. Squamish never existed in a bubble. To think that things could remain the same is naive. Squamish of the past lived on logging, Woodfibre and the Railway. Logging is no longer what it was and can no longer sustain this community. Woodfibre is gone. The Railway has been bought out by CN and provides very few jobs locally. Woodfibre LNG will not even come close to providing the jobs that these three industries provided years ago. This is part of a new reality. Those jobs and those industries are gone forever. However, people that live here have adapted! Many that were employed in these industries have started their own businesses. Many have found employment in other careers. Yes, some have moved. Many have accepted that they need to adapt and take on jobs in the City. Yes, the cost of housing is a problem, and would have been despite all these changes. The lesson is, if we do not adapt, we die. Maybe instead of pining for what once was, we need to look at the new opportunities change can bring, and capitalize on those changes! Sea To Sky Gondola is a perfect example of that!

  14. Jp says:

    Remember the “friends of the Squamish chief”. The infamous NIMBY group that opposed the Sea To Sky Gondola. I also recall a time when a group of NIMBY’s opposed the construction of Quest University.

  15. Rick says:

    You totally missed my point Michael. And it is not even in the last line. :)

  16. Larry McLnnan says:

    Mikey- “change is inevitable” but WLNG can’t be a part of that change? “Squamish never existed in a bubble” yet WLNG can’t come in ?
    WLNG “won’t come even close to providing the jobs these three industries provided”- so your argument is that, unless some single industry which will “come close” to matching the number of jobs of the three combined industries mentioned it should not be allowed to be in the Squamish area? People have adapted- yes- a number of them commute- on a multi-week rotation- to jobs in the North where oil & gas companies are paying good , family supporting wages. Many others commute to the lower mainland for their jobs (you know -in those hydrocarbon burning vehicles). “We need to look at the new opportunities change can bring…’ -WLNG is not a new opportunity? 4 or 5 hundred short-term (1-3 years) jobs and over 100 long term jobs plus $2 million in taxes for the District- that sounds to me like a very good “opportunity” to me!

    • Kevin Erickson says:

      Larry substitute forestry, pulpmill, logging railway, chemical plants, and any other industry you want, where you say WLNG and then accecpt your are an NIMBY!

  17. Dave Colwell says:

    That town….Oh don’t go there! Its full of old farts who don’t like change. They want to keep the pristine views, the lakes, the mountains etc. all to themselves. They are used to pollution because they believe it bought them jobs when they were young.
    They can just remember the sweet smell of the mercaptans from Woodfibre, the fly-ash from beehive burner and the ever pervasive sawdust flying into the Blind Channel ,clogging the gills of the herring.
    We almost had a coal-port here…a pity for some that it was stymied by the Mayor and a bunch of “greenie” protesters.
    They just like one horse hick towns is all ….leave them alone! Screw the young people who would like a decent place to live in our ever changing, more expensive world.
    Same old, same old :-)